Family Weekend is one of Illinois State’s best fall traditions.

This year’s Family Weekend (October 2–4) brings back several of our most popular events, including football at Hancock Stadium, plus new ones such as the inaugural Legacy Brunch. You can check out the full schedule and buy tickets now at

Here are 8 can’t-miss things to do at Family Weekend 2015:

Football at Hancock Stadium

12 p.m. Saturday

Nothing says Family Weekend like a game at Hancock, especially now that the Redbirds haven’t lost at home since November 17, 2012. Tickets are now available for this year’s matchup against Northern Iowa at or (309) 438-8000. Families wishing to sit with students should purchase west-side general admission tickets. Tailgating permits are also available.

Legacy Brunch

9-11 a.m. Sunday

Do you have more than one Redbird in your family, or multiple generations of Redbirds? You’re invited to our first Legacy Brunch at Family Weekend. There will be a legacy pinning ceremony exclusive to our legacy families, and President Larry Dietz will speak. Cost is $10 and you must RSVP by Monday, September 28, at or by calling (800) 366-4478.

image of Bill Engvall

Bill Engvall will perform at Family Weekend 2015.

Bill Engvall

8 p.m. Saturday

This year’s Family Weekend headliner is Bill Engvall, who you may recognize from his fan-favorite turn on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars or his own sitcom on TBS. Engvall will perform at Braden Auditorium inside Bone Student Center—the perfect way to cap off your busy Saturday.

Tickets for Engvall’s show are available at

Academic open houses

Various times, Saturday

Family Weekend is also a great way to meet the faculty and staff from your student’s academic department or college. Several departments are hosting open houses throughout the day Saturday, with some offering tours of new facilities and hands-on demos of classroom and lab technology.

Many are offering free food. No tickets are required to attend these open houses, although some events require advance registration.

Show Us What U Got Talent Showcase

8-10 p.m. Friday

Is your family arriving Friday afternoon and looking for something to do that night? This all-star talent show will feature a performance by Illinois State alum Christian Stoinev ’13, the former Gamma Phi Circus star who appeared on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and I Can Do That. Several ISU student performance groups will be also featured in this free University Program Board (UPB) event in the Bone Student Center’s Brown Ballroom.

Two men play the piano

Dinner and Dueling Pianos is a fun, interactive evening of entertainment featuring the dueling piano talents of Cool 2 Duel.

Dinner and Dueling Pianos

5-7:30 p.m. Saturday

Whether you’re headed to the Bill Engvall show or one of our other Saturday events, this Dinner and Dueling Pianos tradition is a great way to get warmed up for your evening. You provide the direction for this interactive show by requesting your favorite songs and then watch two incredibly talented musicians perform them. Your $30 ticket includes a dinner buffet with salad, pot roast, vegetarian lasagna, mashed potatoes and gravy, seasonal vegetables, rolls, dessert and iced tea.

This event is not intended for young children.

Redbird Family Lunch at President’s Tent

10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday

Grab a bite to eat, meet President Dietz, and watch the Big Red Marching Machine perform in the Redbird Tent Zone outside Hancock. Tickets are only $10, and children ages 5 and under are free.

Alumni Spectacular 2015

9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 12–4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Have you seen the new University Galleries in Uptown Normal? It’s a beautiful space, and it’s just across the street from the Marriott and Hyatt hotels. You can see the Alumni Spectacular 2015, which features artwork by hundreds of talented alumni from Illinois State’s School of Art. Plus, free parking is available for one hour in the parking deck directly above University Galleries.

Ryan Denham can be reached at