By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer
Family Weekend returns in person with a few twists not seen before the pandemic. The weekend is guaranteed to be filled with Baylor traditions as families attend a home football game and the sold-out shows of After Dark.
Roswell, N.M., junior Nathan De La Cerda — Family Weekend chair — said that this is the first time in eight years that a home football game has landed on Family Weekend.
“It’s kind of created a new obstacle that we had to find ways to work around, given that we had the ball game on Saturday,” De La Cerda said. “But in another way, we also had the opportunity to think of new ways and new events that we could host for Family Weekend.”
De La Cerda said that there will be a Family Tailgate Saturday morning before the game.
“We’re going to have lots of lawn games, food trucks,” De La Cerda said. “We have photo booths coming, and we’ve even rented out a huge video board that is going to be streaming the football game that’s going to be happening at McLane Stadium. Families don’t even need to have a football ticket in order to come into the game and experience that atmosphere.”
Dakota Farquhar-Caddell, associate director of Student Activities, and Robert Reid, director of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, said that because of the football game, the Faculty-Family Reception will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday instead of on Saturday morning.
Additionally, Taste of Waco is returning to Family Weekend, but it will be even bigger this time, De La Cerda said.
“We have tons of food trucks coming in,” De La Cerda said. “In the past, it’s been held on Founders Mall, but actually this year, we’ve moved it to Fountain Mall. That’s just basically so we can account for the huge population that we’re expecting to attend this weekend.”
Farquhar-Caddell said that when After Dark tickets went on sale, they sold out in record time, so a second showing was created, which also sold out.
“We’ve seen that people are really interested and excited to get back to campus and see what their students are up to,” Farquhar-Caddell said. “It’s been a year since we have been able to do this, and so I think that people are just excited to travel back to Waco and be here with our students.”
De La Cerda said that around 4,000 tickets have been sold for this weekend’s events.
“It’s just a lot bigger, and it’s kind of interesting because I think with COVID-19 last year and how family weekend was completely virtual, a lot of sophomore families feel like they’ve kind of missed out on the experience,” De La Cerda said. “But I feel like a lot of sophomore families are also being drawn to Family Weekend because they have never experienced it. So I think that even sophomore families are coming, in addition to predominantly the freshman families. That accounts for why we’re expecting such a large attendance number.”
Farquhar-Caddell said that all of Baylor’s current COVID-19 protocols will be in effect for Family Weekend.
“There’s a couple other events, like a Family Worship Night, which is a new addition on Friday night,” Farquhar-Caddell said. “And of course the traditional events like Up Close with Lady and Joy and Traditions Scavenger Hunt, where you go around campus and find different parts … of the university. I just think our biggest hope is that we get to host a lot of families and kind of share with them the best of Waco and the best of Baylor.”