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The triumphant return of a Notre Dame tradition

Patrick Vassel | Monday, April 19, 2004

Finals are approaching. Teachers have conspired to hit the student body with papers and projects all at the same time. Everything seems to be happening as part of a giant plan to stress you out. Wouldn’t it be great if there were just a week of free events designed to reduce stress and let everyone just get out and have some fun? That’s the question Notre Dame students decided to answer in 1967 with AnTostal, a tradition this year’s Student Union Board is hoping to restore to its former glory.

anTostal, which is Gaelic for “the festival,” was a spring extravaganza that ran strong for thirty years before declining in the late 1990s. Other campus events of this time of year, such as the Fisher Regatta and the Bookstore Basketball finals, historically took place as part of AnTostal week. Essentially a series of concerts, contests and events, many of which were out doors, defined anTostal during its most popular years.

A glance through past yearbooks reveals the importance of the event to the student body with big name bands coming through, mud wrestling on the quads and free giveaways throughout the week. New Student Union Board manager Jimmy Flaherty is excited about the week’s events and hopes this year will solidify the tradition for years to come.

“It’s a way to lift the stress on the student body, a last hurrah for the seniors, and hopefully it will get everyone pumped about the events we’re planning for next year,” Flaherty said.

Officially beginning Sunday with a trip to Chicago for a Cubs game, anTostal features events every day of the week. On Tuesday, “The Daily Show” regular Mo Rocca will be speaking in DeBartolo 101. His smart and hilarious commentary on politics and current events is sure to be a great time.

If students are unsure of what AnTostal is all about, Wednesday is sure to clear up their confusion. With free laundry in LaFortune, free pizza delivered to classes, tie-dying shirts on South Quad, free Boracho Burrito, a special concert featuring Zane Williams, and a quarter dog eating contest at the Huddle, Wednesday is just an average day during AnTostal week, but an outstanding day for the student body.

Free pizza delivery continues on Thursday, which most students recognize as AcoustiCafe night. AnTostal AcoustiCafe is even better, though, featuring the best of Notre Dame’s live performers at Legends, followed by a concert with one of the hottest new singer/songwriters in the country, Ari Hest. Hest is a native of New York and has toured college campuses and small venues for the last several years while writing songs and sharing stages with acts such as Maroon 5, Jason Mraz and O.A.R.

“All the performing and touring fits me. I want to sing and play for people every night,” Hest says on his Web site.

Hest, who recently signed with Columbia Records, is soon to release albums nationwide. Thursday is a great chance to see an amazing artist live “before he was big.”

Friday’s big event is a Carnival throughout the day on North Quad. With free giveaways, contests and entertainment, it’s a great way to get out in the sun and have a good time celebrating the end of the last full week of classes. Continuing the concerts of the week, Jason Lavasseur will perform; Friday is also the day of the Battle of the Bands competition.

In addition to the outstanding events and concerts, SUB is also sponsoring special giveaways throughout the week, with the chance to win a brand new Ipod, Xbox and Notre Dame apparel.

Past alumni have often looked back with great memories of their experiences at anTostal, and Flaherty is hoping that this is something current and future students will feel the same way about.

“The new board and programmers have really been great in getting this together and it should be not only a lot of fun, but a preview of what SUB is working on for next year,” Flaherty said.

Being a Notre Dame student seems to come with a requisite amount of stress, between classes, activities, jobs and other responsibilities. April is a busy month for everyone. This year, however, anTostal should be able to relieve a lot of stress and at least provide some great distractions from the everyday worries. Only eight class days are left, and these five shouldn’t be quite as bad with this re-established Notre Dame tradition.