WMU News

Annual Family Festival weekend begins Friday

Oct. 23, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The weekend of Oct. 25-27 will be a genuine family affair for Western Michigan University students.

The weekend will feature WMU's 35th annual Family Festival, which is sponsored by the WMU Parents Association with help from Student Activities and Leadership Programs in the Division of Student Affairs. The event honors and celebrates the commitment parents and guardians show to the University and its students

The first Family Festival, then called Parents Day, took place in 1967 with 468 parents and students attending a Parents Association luncheon. In addition to the annual board of directors meeting for the association, which was founded in 1962, scores of Parents Day participants also attended a football game that saw WMU triumph over Miami (Ohio) University.

Today, the annual event has grown to involve additional family members and friends in college life for an entire weekend.

The 2002 Family Festival will begin Friday, Oct. 25, with opportunities for participants to enjoy a variety of entertainment and athletic events on campus and around town, including the Tony Award-winning musical "Fosse!" at 8 p.m. in Miller Auditorium. The show also will be performed at Miller at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27.

Saturday's Family Festival activities will keep students and their families busy for most of the day.

From 9 to 11 a.m., participants will congregate near the Goldsworth Valley Pond, where residence hall directors and advisors will talk with participants as well as answer questions.

The day's main event will be the WMU Parents Association tailgate from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hyames Field prior to the 1 p.m. football game between the Broncos and Northern Illinois Huskies.

Among those on hand at the tailgate to meet with families will be Dr. Elson S. Floyd, WMU president, and Dr. Diane K. Swartz, WMU vice president for student affairs and dean of students. The tailgate will also feature a visit from the University's mascot, Buster Bronco, and a performance by the WMU Cheer Team. A unique aspect to the event this year will be a pumpkin-carving area, where tailgaters can carve pumpkins to decorate their homes and residence hall rooms.

Following the football game, the African Student Association will serve as host for "African Night" at 4 p.m. in the Dalton Center. The event will focus on cultural foods and activities. Tickets will be available at the door for $7.

No specific activities have been scheduled for Sunday, giving students and their families the opportunity to spend quality time together or engage in activities of their choosing, such as touring campus; attending "The World We Create," a free interactive technology-based exhibit at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum; or visiting WMU's Student Recreation Center.

One-time recreation center passes will be available on a pre-arranged basis, allowing Family Festival participants to use the center during normal operating hours throughout the weekend. In addition to trying out the center's climbing wall, families may participate in such activities as swimming, racquetball, volleyball, tennis and basketball.

For more information about Family Festival or to join the Parents Association and get signed up for this year's festival activities, call (269) 387-2156 or visit the Parents Association Web site at <www.wmu-parents.wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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