Planning for next Family Weekend in the works


Kevin Hall

Kelsey Trigg, a Charleston resident, gets her face painted at the “Face Painting/Sand Art Bottle” event during Family Weekend on Sept. 20, 2014 at the Bridge Lounge in Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Maria Baldwin, Staff Reporter

The dates have been set. Family Weekend is planned and expected to run from Oct. 9 until Oct. 11 next semester.

Cathy Engelkes, the deputy director of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, said the planning and preparation going into putting together Family Weekend, is a continuous process.

Engelkes said as soon as the weekend concludes one year, the planning for next year’s festivities begins, and the staff in charge tries to make sure it is better than the year before.

This includes looking at surveys given families to assess how the weekend could be improved, and what festivities the staff could include or exclude to make the weekend more enjoyable, Engelkes said.

For 2015, she said the staff is still in the process of planning, and she predicts it will be just as fun as last year.

She said ideas are rotating around including providing discount in the Food Court instead of a spaghetti dinner and a pack-and-go lunch for families attending the football game. The possibility of bringing back the idea of a concert for families was also discussed, she said.

Engelkes said Dan Nadler, the vice president for student affairs, decided on hosting it Oct. 9-11 to collaborate with various departments, and looking at the football schedule, he decided which weekend would be convenient for the university.

As soon as families get home from Family Weekend, some are already booking their hotel for the next year, as hotels are already booked up nine months to a year in advance.

Jeff Patel, the manager of Days Inn Hotel, said many hotels in the area, including the Days Inn in Charleston, are already filled for Family Weekend next fall, with many people wait listed for a room.

Patel said these hotels do not give special rates for families who already may be spending a lot of money on this weekend; in fact, rates are even higher.

Kathy Beeson, the assistant manager of Quality Inn, said a one-night stay at the Inn in Mattoon usually ranges around $70, but on Family Weekend, rates can be expected to be around $100 a night.

The hotel staff from the Charleston-Mattoon area hotels said families stay for up to two nights.

 Maria Baldwin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].