Students and their families come together at block party

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Families of Rowan students headed to campus to take part in Family Weekend 2017. The centerpiece of the weekend was the Family Block Party, which allowed families to fill up their plates at a picnic, as well as engage in a variety of games and activities.

At the outset of the block party, more than six hundred families were pre-registered for the weekend, with some still arriving and registering on the spot, according to director of Student Enrichment and Family Connections Julie Peterson.

“Family Weekend goes back to the eighties, but it used to be merged with homecoming,” Peterson said. “About seven years ago, we were outgrowing the number of families that we could actually have out here, along with alums and the Greek Life and the community. It was just too massive, so we separated the two. Since then, our numbers just continued to grow.”

The event was catered by Gourmet Dining, providing attendees with a fall-themed menu. Pumpkin ornaments and cornucopias lined the table, adding to the feeling of the newly arrived season. Food options included apple cobbler, peach upside-down cake, smoked sausage, grilled tofu and garlic parmesan macaroni and cheese.

Mike Caramanica, director of catering for Gourmet Dining, oversaw the food services for the event.

“As far as food service goes, we’re featuring a local fall harvest menu for the block party,” Caramanica said. “In addition to that, we’re also featuring a couple of classes.”

These took place after the block party and included classes on cupcake decorating and knife skills.

Gourmet Dining also offered prizes to whoever could guess how many apples were in a basket or the weight of a large pumpkin. The prize for the closest guess to the apples was a tailgating set, and a bike, helmet and bike lock for the pumpkin.

Patricia Ackerman traveled from West Chester, Pennsylvania for the event.

“Everything is well-organized, the food is great and they’re making everyone feel welcome, so it’s fabulous,” she said.

Her son, freshman management major Kevin Ackerman, was happy to see his parents.

“I love it,” he said. “They come, buy me food, we go to different restaurants instead of the dining hall. It’s nice to see them again.”

Attendees had a variety of options for entertainment, such as a bouncy house for younger siblings, face painting and a stilt walker to interact with.

One of the most popular was inflatable sumo wrestling. Here, students could face off with family members to test their fortitude inside of an inflated suit.

Freshman music industry major Greggory Nekrasovas faced off against his father.

“We chose the most agile person to go up against me, so that was my father, unfortunately. I won, even though it ended in controversial fashion,” he said.

Aside from the block party, Family Weekend also featured laser light shows in the Edelman Planetarium, a running and biking event to raise money for veterans and $1,000 bingo at Rowan After Hours.

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