For some students, like Ashley Bjork '09, attending a banquet is an annual event.
"I think it is one of those great Olaf traditions and I enjoyed catching up with my dad," she said. "He told me hes been looking forward to it since the beginning of the school year."
The banquets attract not only local parents, but some from across the country. Fathers flew to Northfield from as far away as California, Texas and Idaho for last weekends banquets.
Over a meal in the Black and Gold Ballrooms, families had the opportunity to hear a St. Olaf staff or faculty member speak on the challenges and rewards of the father/daughter relationship. The speaker at the Saturday lunch was Pete Sandberg, assistant vice president for facilities. Displaying a series of slides, Sandberg discussed the ways in which fathers and daughters perceive one another.
"Things go pretty well until [age] 11 or 12," Sandberg said, changing a picture of a knight to one of a gorilla. "This is the age when you start hearing, But dad, stop it!"
Sandberg concluded by quoting the "Ole and Lena Joke Book," comparing fathers to well-crafted wines.
"We all start out as grapes," he said. "You need to stomp on us, keep us in the dark and wait until we turn into something you want to have dinner with."
College Pastor Bruce Benson spoke at the banquet Saturday evening, using memorabilia belonging to one of his daughters to chronicle the different stages in a childs life. Each object, ranging from a baby blanket to a science project to a graduation tassel, represented a time in life with its own set of joys. Even though fathers are often saddened by the end of a particular stage in life, they can look forward to whats to come in the future.
"Your dad can love every one of those stages," Benson said. "I dont like this 30-age one bit less than when I could hold [his daughter] in one arm."
Sundays speaker was Rob Hauck, swimming coach and instructor in physical education. Hauck, a parent of three daughters and two sons, spoke on the challenges of raising a large family. He said that relatives, church members and St. Olaf students have helped care for his children throughout the years. Hauck also spoke on the importance of establishing family traditions.
According to director of banquets Justin Smith '07, approximately 200 father/daughter couples attended a banquet last weekend.
"Everyone really seemed to enjoy it," he said.
The Father/Daughter Banquets were the first in a series of banquets sponsored by SAC. The Mother/Son Banquets will happen this weekend, while the Father/Son and Mother/Daughter Banquets are scheduled for the spring.