Making memories: Siblings Weekend 2018 sees more than 1,000 participants

Grand Rapids sophomore Bailey Campbell shares a bag of cotton candy with her niece Gabi Wazny, 4, during the carnival hosted during Siblings Week on Jan. 27 in the SAC.

More than 1,000 Central Michigan University students and their siblings overtook campus this weekend for the 55th annual Siblings Weekend Jan. 26-27.

"(My brother and I) don't see each other that much anymore, so seeing him here and showing him what I do everyday," said Troy sophomore Brendan Genereau, whose 9-year-old brother Blake came to campus for his first Siblings Weekend. "It's nice."

Administrative co-chair of Siblings Weekend Allison Tobey said the event usually has between 700 and 800 participants. This year it had more than 1,000.

In accordance with the theme for this year, which was space, Tobey said this year featured a DIY galaxy event so participants could “make their own nebula jars.” The weekend also included a chance to go stargazing at the Brooks Observatory. 

Weekend events included open bowling, swimming at the Student Activity Center, basketball and soccer clinics, movie viewings, climbing the rock wall in Finch Fieldhouse, a carnival and “Club Bovee” — where a DJ played music in the Bovee University Center.

St. Clair Shores sophomore Ashley Bourlier attended Siblings Weekend with her 16-year-old brother John and 18-year-old brother Ryan. This was the Bourliers' first time participating in siblings weekend.

She said although there was a lot to pick from, the variety of events made it easier to appeal to the interests of everyone in the family. 

It wasn't just a first time event for the Bourliers, either.

Midland senior JD Copus, entertainment coordinator for Siblings Weekend, said this was his first time organizing an event of this size. Seeing all they younger kids enjoying themselves was the best part for him.

"That's why we do this, so that they can have fun," Copus said.

At the annual pancake breakfast Saturday morning, siblings also enjoyed breakfast as Chris Cakes of Michigan tossed pancakes onto their places.

Nathan Smith, employee at the catering company, said Chris Cakes has been working the event for more than 10 years.

"I love that feeling of the older sibling showing the younger sibling this is what growing up looks like," Smith said.

Malia Reger,  another employee, said they easily serve 2,000 pancakes during the breakfast. Her favorite part was having all the kids involved, which makes Siblings Weekend feel like a "community event."

Some students were even former participants themselves.

After coming to Siblings Weekend when she was younger, Williamston freshman Grace Lounsbury decided to bring her 15-year-old younger brother to stay with her the weekend to continue the tradition. 

They agreed their favorite part had been spending time on campus and getting to have fun together.

Wrapping up the weekend was a carnival comprising inflatables, music, games and performances by Central Harmony a cappella group and the Explosive dance team. Among the games were basketball, bean bag toss and an obstacle course. 

Sanford freshman John Apo was a volunteer for Siblings Weekend. He said he participated to “help others have fun.”

"I want to make this the best experience for everyone here since I don't have my own siblings," Apo said.  "What better way to do that than to volunteer and help make sure that other people's siblings are having fun?"

Staff Reporter Melissa Frick contributed to this article.