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ISSUE 121 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/2/2008

Partying dry on a dry campus

By Joanna Cullen
Contributing Writer

Friday, May 2, 2008

To drink, or not to drink, that is the question. Even on a dry campus like St. Olaf, we all know that parties involving alcohol happen every weekend. While those parties can certainly be fun, they are not the only way to have fun on the weekends or any other time. As a JC (and someone who happens to have chosen not to drink 'til it's legal), I know that even in a small town like Northfield, and on St. Olaf's humble campus, students have a plethora of options for some old-fashioned non-alcoholic fun. Feeling too sapped of your creative energies after a long week of classes? Never fear! I've picked the brains of some of my friends and fellow students and compiled their ideas and experiences here into a handy index of options. So, if your decision is "not to drink," here are some suggestions on how to have an alcohol-free good time.

Get your weekend off to a good start with a fantastic game of foursquare on Friday afternoon. Now that the weather is warm, a group of foursquare enthusiasts spends much of the afternoon on the plaza. In fact, quite a few pleasant afternoon activities can often be found celebrated on the plaza, including foursquare, Frisbee and the occasional swing dance. Get out there and do something.

Take a walk, play Frisbee golf or tennis, simply celebrate the sun's arrival back into our lives. Then, why not take a walk down to Hogan Brothers for a delicious hoagie dinner and some ice cream for dessert. Browse the shops downtown before heading back up to campus.

Regarding the evening's main entertainment, you may be a little uncomfortable with abandoning the party scene altogether, so here are some formal party suggestions. Mocktails are always fun, as they have all the classiness and flavor of a cocktail party without the hangover in the morning. Get all gussied up, drink mocktails and eat hors d'oeuvres.

Have you or your friends been abroad? For an educational and tasty event, host an international potluck where everyone creates and brings a dish representative of the country they visited. If food isn't really your thing, take a trip down memory lane with a themed party celebrating the decade of your choice! For the '80's, break out the razzles, dust off your "Care Bears" VHS tapes and crank up the Pat Benatar! You can create a theme party around almost anything. Host a party based around "The Office," "Lost" or whatever your favorite TV show or movie happens to be. It's as easy as creating a Facebook event and asking your guests to dress as their favorite character.

If it's a more laid-back night you are interested in, consider a "Guitar Hero" or "Super Smash Bros Brawl" tournament, or for the intellectual, a rousing night of wordsmithing with a few close friends and the party box edition of "Apples to Apples." Let's not forget the tried and true movie marathon -- simply gather some friends, pop some popcorn and you're set for the evening. For the ladies, consider a Mary Kay makeover party (yes, we do have reps right here on campus).

When those midnight cravings hit, add a little Northfield flavor to your weekend and head down to Sweet Lou's Waffle Bar to satisfy your late night sweet tooth with an "Ole Roller" or a "Jesse James" waffle. If you are in search of more of a meal, Erbert and Gerbert's is open late, or maybe half-priced apps at Applebee's are the tasty and thrifty Friday night event you are looking for to suppress any lingering hunger.

Should none of these ideas strike your fancy, there is almost always a concert going on in the Pause or the Lair, or a movie showing in Viking. However, if all else fails, take the love bus to Target and host a mini-scavenger hunt. Give everyone in your group a $5 spending limit and compete to see who can buy the most interesting thing. Exchange your purchases on the ride back.

Regardless of what you do, the idea is to find something that helps you break out of the routine and the stress of a whole week of classes, especially during these final weeks, and is a pleasant diversion. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the fun and creative things to do on the weekend, but I am hopeful that it can act as a template to gave you some jumping off points to utilize and will inspire you to create your own new and exciting alcohol-free weekend activities!

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