|Weather forecasts no match for Festival ISU|
|Written by Andrew Steckling, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Thursday, 27 August 2009 19:13|
Pitched tents, eager organizations and local businesses were all the rage at Festival ISU yesterday.
The festival, which gives students the opportunity to learn more information about and the chance to sign up for several organizations or career opportunities, was originally scheduled for last Thursday, but rescheduled to yesterday after inclement weather forecasts forced university officials and UPB members to pull the plug.
Sophomore communication studies major Liz Stimac, chairperson of the UPB Redbird Days Committee, who was in charge of bringing the fest to the Quad, was very pleased with the turnout of both businesses and students.
"The festival is a very traditional thing," she said. "It’s been a recurring event for the past seven years, and it’s always swamped with students."
Jimmy John’s, who has been a part of the fest since its beginning seven years ago, was quite the hit, maintaining a line of near 30 to 40 students for 20 minutes.
Mary Strack, owner of the three local Jimmy John’s branches; Jordan Strack, her son and current employee; and University of Illinois professor Jim Gentry, who volunteers his time to help out at the restaurant’s tent, weren’t surprised by the student response.
M. Strack said the annual ritual includes waking up at 4 a.m. to begin baking the bread for that day.
She said the tent usually makes around 15 to 20 platters, or 150 to 200 sandwiches, for the festival.
"We usually space out our delivery times for each platter, so we don’t run out of sandwiches right away," she said.
Handing out a third of a sandwich to students, the employees of Jimmy John’s found themselves running out of eight platters of sandwiches within 15 minutes of serving.
"We had students who stood in line for 15 to 20 minutes just to wait for sandwiches, so obviously they were depressed when we ran out," Gentry said.
"We can’t expect to save sandwiches for everybody, though, since we always see our largest response at the festival."
Even though weather threatened the festival’s activities yesterday, with rain expected all afternoon into the evening, Stimac said the event would have happened rain or shine.
Ian Phillips, a junior music performance major, has no real interest in Festival ISU, and only participated in the event because it interfered with his commute to class.
"I went last year, but only because I was helping a friend out at one of the booths. It normally doesn’t interest me, but I decided to stop and pick up some popcorn because it was free," he said.