Fasten your seat belts! The Princeton Reunions Weekend is about to hit us like busloads of tourists unloading at Times Square. About 25,000 alumni and their guests will clog up major road arteries just like a Hoagie Haven Phat Lady coursing through your veins. If the rowers hit the shores of Lake Carnegie it will be reminiscent of the Allied Forces invading Normandy. That would mean vehicles will slow down on the Washington Road Bridge to see this spectacle. In other words, don’t even bother driving through town until Sunday evening.
Princeton University is at the top-tier of the ivy league elitist food chain, and carry on the ancient traditions of bad taste. You’ll see old and young painting the town orange and black with the most horrendous clothing imaginable. They would not be caught dead walking the streets of New York or Philly in these outfits, but they will strut their stuff proudly in front of townies.
Alums call it school pride, so grown men and women can justify wearing orange and black tiger-striped, plaid, or other patterned blazers and straw boaters in public. Extra points for those sporting the hats cocked to the side. Often, the entire family is decked out in some sort of crazy spirit wear. A few even dress their dogs in tiger costumes. Can you imagine seeing a brood exiting their suburban Ohio home wearing what seems to be Tigger costumes in May? Princeton University is one of the preppiest schools on the planet, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Ralph Lauren added a Tiger print to his Spring ’16 Collection.
The P-rade is a must see if you want a really good laugh. The ghost from Princeton past will head the parade, and very enthusiastic disciples in a hypnotic state will follow their fearless leader. Have your cameras or camcorders ready, because words cannot begin to explain this event. Seeing is believing.
Princetonians really get the royal treatment once back at their alma mater for the Reunions Weekend. Local merchants roll out the orange carpet to cater to this influx of money bags. Hamilton Jewelers even holds an annual watch fair to coincide with the alum invasion. This lures the beasts out of the confines of the campus and onto the streets. Should we thank merchants for this added entertainment or curse them for causing longer lines?
The joke’s on them. Townies strike back by being moochers. Somehow, locals score wristbands to enter their exclusive boozefests. And we also know when they will shoot off fireworks and watch at their expense (shhh! it’s on Saturday, May 30th at Campbell Field, but you didn’t hear it from me).
So if you can handle the crowds, head into town and you can see them roaming around like the big cats at Great Adventure’s safari park. Unfortunately, they will not be behind cages.
On a serious note, Princeton University demonstrates strong school spirit thanks to century’s old traditions. The big weekend runs from Thursday, May 28 – Sunday, May 31. For those residents who treasure the Town and Gown synergy, you can purchase tickets to encore performances of the Triangle Show’s An Inconvenient Sleuth on Friday or Saturday evening at McCarter Theatre. Fireworks will follow the Saturday performance.