NORMAL — Illinois State University welcomed flocks of Redbird families Saturday for the second day of Family Weekend.
Even though a passing rain shower was on the minds of some, many parents and siblings still came out to make the most of the day.
Glen Dennis and his wife Deann said they were excited to see Redbirds football take on Missouri State after driving down from Pontiac.
“We’re hoping for no rain,” Dennis said. He added his daughter plays the flute in ISU’s Big Red Marching Machine band.
“Came to see the music more than anything,” he continued.
“We’re thinking the best is yet to come.”
The university had a packed schedule of activities to keep the whole gang of students, parents and children entertained throughout the day. ISU mascot Reggie Redbird also made the rounds, greeting folks from the Quad to Hancock Stadium.
Several university departments also held open houses, tours and demonstrations for visitors. At the Science Laboratory Building, biochemistry professor Marjorie Jones offered people a chance to dip a daisy into a bucket of liquid nitrogen — and fielded questions from fathers like Harry Boatman.
The dad asked the professor what would happen if you stick your finger in the bucket.
“It would become like this,” Jones said, holding up a yellow flower that was frozen in seconds by the super-cool fluid.
She then crumbled the petals into pieces — they were cold and hard to the touch.
Boatman, whose daughter studies biochemistry, told The Pantagraph that the demonstration was “all fun stuff.”
Jones said when people touch something, “we get a different impression of the chemistry and biochemistry that’s going on.”
Jonathan Leppert, a junior student at ISU, was also amused by the demonstration.
“We haven’t done something like that in lab,” the biology major said. “I didn’t know what (liquid nitrogen) could do to plants.”
His mother, Brenda Leppert, was visiting from Mokena that day. She also said she hadn’t seen something like that before.
Nancy and Ray Pehler, whose son Ethan studies at ISU, also visited campus on Saturday. They said they were excited for the football game.
Finding a weekend for Illinois State University’s Homecoming takes a lot of planning ahead. It has to be a home game, after Family Weekend, that does not conflict with other events in Normal and ideally avoids Illinois Wesleyan’s homecoming as well.
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Jonathan Leppert, left, dips a flower into a tin bucket filled with liquid nitrogen along with his mother, Brenda Leppert, right at the Science Laboratory Building. Professor Marjorie Jones, middle, gave chemistry demonstrations Saturday for an open house during Illinois State University's Family Weekend.
Biochemistry professor Marjorie Jones, left, pours cool vapor from a flask of water and dry ice over the hand of Harry Boatman, right, on Saturday at the Science Laboratory Building at Illinois State University. His daughters Brooklynn, second from left, and Julia, middle, looked on with his wife, Paula.