By Sara Tyree/Around&About editor

Where can someone find activities like simulated skydiving, a comedian, local bands playing, breakfast at midnight and a football game all for free? At Eastern’s First Weekend, of course. Before Eastern’s first home football game of the season, the student life coordinators arrange a variety of exciting activities for students. The best part? They’re all free.

With more assortment than a box of Lucky Charms, the First Weekend activities promise something fun and interesting for every student that attends.

Activities begin at 11 a.m. by the Powell Building with mechanical bull riding, an inflatable obstacle course and rock wall climbing for the adventurous-types.

Things begin to get crazy on Friday as students can try the outdoor “Extreme Air” simulated skydiving and attend the first music festival (of two this weekend) held in the Ravine, complete with local bands sponsored by Outcry records.

Local bands such as Westover, Inward Theory, Alanna and Lark Watts will play on two different nights as part of the Outcry Music Festival. They play for free, but Eastern helps them with advertising by providing the venue for the bands.

A pep rally will follow the first concert.

Another treat this weekend will be the appearance of comedian Lowell Sanders, who has opened for acts such as Tim Allen.

Sanders has traveled the country performing for college audiences. Friday will end with a free midnight breakfast in the cafeteria located on the top floor of the Powell Building.

On Saturday, Sept. 6, everything from virtual reality rollercoasters to free airbrush tattoos and another music festival will precede the long-awaited first home football game against Appalachian State.

Christina Thompson, First Weekend chair last year and intern for the Student Life Office this year, looks forward to the events this weekend.

“There’s more variety with this year’s First Weekend. This is the first time we’ve had live music and we continue to look into events that the students will enjoy,” she said.

“We expect about 200 people on average, but the midnight breakfast is always the largest event, bringing in about 400 or 500 people,” Thompson said, based on past First Weekends.

If you haven’t seen the advertisements already, look around, because they are everywhere. Student life uses channel 60, flyers, radio, Internet, sidewalk chalk and the newspaper to advertise these events.

“The best way to advertise is to use lots of different ways to reach a lot of people,” Thompson said.

There are so many activities during first weekend, the best chosen out of everything else that could have been included.

“Representatives from student life attend something called NACA, or the National Association for Campus Activities conference and were able to look at all kinds of different things to choose from,” Thompson said.

“Comedians were there as well as people offering other activities,” she said. “It’s a collaborative process and we always try to listen to what students want.”

There’s a lot going on this weekend, so don’t hesitate to check it out.

“It’s a good way to meet people, it’s free and fun and it’s a cheap date,” Thompson said.

“First Weekend is a positive way to go out, have a good time and support Eastern,” she said.

So click your way to Eastern’s first weekend Web site to find more information on bands, times and dates for activities at

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