There are many genuinely odd aspects to the University of Illinois. Probably the most characteristic of the atmosphere here is the celebration called Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, though most simply refer to it as Unofficial. What is this celebration? Well, as with most things at UIUC, it involves people drinking excessively, dressing identically, and doing unnecessarily stupid things to make up for their otherwise boring lives.
This may sound a bit harsh, so let me provide a little background. St. Patrick’s day often falls on Illinois’s spring break week, so one can imagine that local bar owners would be a little upset when all of their customers jump ship for Chicago on one of the most inebriated holidays of the year. One of the more perspicacious bar owners (I think he owns ten in this town) decided it would be a great idea to throw and unofficial version of St. Patrick’s day sometime before the main event. It is always held on a school day; usually the first Friday in March.
Students, of course, thought this was an incredible idea, and the event quickly grew out of hand. People begin drinking early in the morning (or sometime late the day before) and just continue drinking all day and into the weekend. People drink in the street, in class, in bars, in cars, in homes… you get the idea. Basically, it is like every Friday evening, just everyone is wearing green. The News-Gazette has a good summary and a short video about the day’s happenings.
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