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My Favorite Family Weekend Festivities at Illinois State

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Family weekend here at Illinois State is always one to be celebrated. This year, it took place last weekend (September 22-24, 2023). So many events occur both on and off campus that give ISU students and their families fun ways to spend time together. Between a large variety of restaurants and entertainment, it’s easy to find fun for everyone, even if your interests are as opposite as my brother and I’s are. 

My family came for just the Saturday of family weekend, so we had to limit our excitement to only a few fun things, but there are plenty of options for families who choose to stay the entire weekend.

We began our Saturday with a scholarship ceremony hosted by the College of Education in the Bone Student Center. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship, so it was nice to be recognized with my family’s presence. We grabbed a few bites of their complementary, continental breakfast before visiting with other scholarship recipients and congratulating each other.

After the ceremony, it was lunchtime! Despite the numerous options, we decided to go to the Pop-Up Chicken Shop in Bloomington after hearing several positive reviews. They had a wide selection of different burger and chicken options, but personally, I tried their OG Sando, their take on a classic fried chicken sandwich. I loved that they had a variety of spice levels, as my dad loves some heat. My mom and I decided to stick to the mild side. The chicken was juicy, had a flavorful rub, and was topped with their mayo-based “Pop-Up sauce,” coleslaw, and dill pickles (my favorite). We got a side of their dill fries and gouda mac and cheese, and both made my mouth water. Plus, don’t even get me started on their homemade lemonade and iced tea options, complete with flavored syrups for your customization. Needless to say, I left the restaurant waddling with a food baby.

After filling our bellies, we spent the afternoon wandering Rader Family Farms. They offer a ton of activities for a decent price, such as corn mazes and pumpkin picking, or you can get in for free and shop their endless fall food and home decor ‘til your autumn-loving heart’s content. They also have some cute photo opportunities, which make the perfect addition to your aesthetic Instagram feed. Some must-buys are their pumpkin bars and famous Apple Slushy Silo Shake, that is if you have the strength to limit yourself to purchase only a couple of their delicious food and drink items. I also bought a few mini pumpkins to add to my autumn apartment decor. 
Needless to say, we all had an excitement-packed day filled with food, drink, and fun. Family weekend at ISU is certainly one to be celebrated, especially with the numerous activities and dining options Illinois State University and Bloomington-Normal have to offer!

Paige Stolp

Illinois State '25

Hi, I'm Paige! I am a junior Middle Level Education major here at Illinois State with endorsements in science and English Language Arts. I enjoy being my own barista, cooking, watching sunrises and sunsets, and all things Taylor Swift!