Lawnparties: Social Life at Princeton Part II

Lawnparties are the quintessence of Princeton. They display both its stereotypes and alter-ego simultaneously. It shows the preppy side reminiscent of the past coupled with the modern college student.

Back in the day a lawnparty, I assume, involved eating cheese and drinking wine while playing croquet, or another game, in a suit. Today, it is an eclectic event that draws on influences that include prom, music festivals, and the Kentucky Derby.

I began the day by meeting my OA group for brunch at Forbes College. It is known for its Sunday brunches, and let me tell you that it is worth the walk. In addition to having the usual breakfast foods, and a custom waffle station, it also had a chocolate fountain. Once again, Forbes is a country club.

I saw hordes of people dressed in pastel colors walking towards The Street as I approached the Woodrow Wilson School to get a picture with my zee group. One of the lawnparty traditions is to get a picture with your group or significant other by the Wilson fountain. The tourists really stood out today because they were not dressed in preppy clothing.

I went to the Class of 1879 Arch to get my wristband for the main act, Icona Pop.

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From there, I walked to Prospect Avenue. I first stopped by Campus Club to claim my free food (and made many subsequent return visits). Donning a Brooks Brothers shirt  (more on that later) with an Italian ice in hand, Yours Truly began to investigate the phenomenon known as “Lawnparties.” There were a lot of people on The Street. They were all swarmed around a few Eating Clubs with bands. Most of the clubs had bouncers out front, but Yours Truly found them to be Ineffective as he used unguarded access points in the back. As is customary, many people had a pre-game drinking session in their dorms before coming to drink even more. I noticed that there was a number of intoxicated people stumbling around. To reemphasize this point, I chose to not participate in that facet of festivities.

One of the major aspects of Lawnparties is clothing. Most girls wore a thin cocktail dress or sundress. A few wore the large hats that were similar to those of the Kentucky Derby. Guys wore a polo or button-down shirt with Sperrys or dress shoes and some sort of khakis or obnoxiously colored pastel shorts. Other acceptable apparel included: sweaters tied around necks, blazers (but not a full suit), Party with Meg tank tops (as in Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay), Forbes Marathon tank tops (in reference to The Walk), Got Moves? tank tops (chess club), or lederhosen.

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Guy in lederhosen, second from right

I watched a few of the smaller bands and then returned for the two main acts in the backyard of Quadrangle Club. First was hip-hop artist Sammy Adams. When I first heard this, I thought it was spoof of Samuel Adams as a rapper, but he is in fact a real artist. His show consisted of the usual hip-hip type of music. Let me say this, at nowhere else in the world will you find a higher concentration of people dressed in Vineyard Vines partying to rap than at Princeton’s Lawnparties. Enough said. Also, there is no other time when you can hear someone yell, “Princeton, make some mother f– noise for yourself.” I couldn’t help but to laugh.

Icona Pop was excellent, and I am not even much of a music person. There were even a few songs that I recognized. They are very good at live performances.

Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4, Video 5

I finished the day by going to Whitman College’s study break. They were giving out free Qdoba!

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