Dillo Day is coming! Upperclassmen have been talking about it all year, sophomores have been lamenting last year's cancellation, and you're really, really confused about the whole deal. That sounds about right, doesn't it? I know that, going into my freshman Dillo Day, I had no idea what to expect, so I'd like to change that for all the freshmen (and transfers and sophomores who still don't get it) out there.

What is Dillo?

In its most basic form, Dillo Day is a music festival held on the Lakefill one spring Saturday each year. In actuality, Dillo Day is the one day of the year that Northwestern has as much fun (or nearly as much fun) as a state school, so we're naturally very excited about it. People go from house party to house party all day, and young enterprising Evanston children take the opportunity to set up stands on their lawns and sell lemonade and brownies to drunk college kids. Trust me, you won't be able to turn down their cute little faces at their lemonade stands. There are sometimes dogs.

Dillo Day itself usually starts in mid afternoon (find the lineup here), but everyone starts celebrating much earlier. I've had an 8 am event to go to all three years, and my friends frequently wake up at 7 or 8 for group breakfasts. You'll most likely split your morning hours between hanging out with friends at your dorms and wandering residential Evanston in search of darties.

Where is Dillo?

I already explained this, but just to clarify: Dillo Day is on the Lakefill, but there are events going on all around off campus.

How to I get access to Dillo?

Northwestern students get free access to Dillo Day, but we have to pick up wristbands ahead of time in Norris. Get the pickup schedule (and pretty much everything else) here. A word of warning: picking up your wristband can take forever, so plan accordingly.

Can I bring non-NU friends to Dillo?

Yes! But you would have had to register them as a guest weeks ago. If you did register your friend, pickup their wristband at the same time as yours. You'll probably need to be able to provide something along the lines of a picture of their driver's license.

Guests can be tricky - you're responsible for them, both for their alcohol consumption (please be careful) and entertaining them in general. Also, dorms have been very finicky about who is allowed in during Dillo weekend. Usually, you're allowed to register one guest to come inside with you for the entirety of the weekend - and that includes NU students who live in other dorms. If you're bringing a friend, make sure to register them with your dorm ASAP. If not, but you have one other person who you know will come over, do the same.

Ways to be safe (this is so important)

Let's just be frank here: people get very drunk on Dillo Day. This is expected, but just remember that the day is a marathon, not a sprint, so don't start off too hard. Going home (or worse, to the hospital) due to too much alcohol is the last thing you want to do on Dillo Day, so make sure it doesn't happen!

Ways to stay safe:

1) Drink water. Seriously, make sure you're staying hydrated around all of your other liquid consumption. Water is good for you. Love yourself and drink it, even while you poison your body with alcohol.

2) Pace yourself. Just do it, ok? You'll thank yourself later.

3) Eat! Make sure to eat breakfast, and do everything you can to get lunch. PHA and IFC usually jointly serve free food (bagels in the morning, pizza at lunch), so make sure to get it! Bagels are usually either at Kellogg or Fireman's Park (corner of Foster and Maple), and pizza is on the Lakefill. Even if you don't get this food, make sure you're eating. Dillo is long, and you deserve food in your belly. Bring money to the Lakefill for food trucks!

Other tips

— Use a fanny pack. It sounds silly now, but this is the one day of the year that you can. Trust me, you'll love having somewhere convenient to store all your stuff during the day.

— Get a Dillo tank! Everybody wears Dillo Day tanks on the day of. If you aren't in any student groups that have bought them, go to the Dillo merch tables and buy yourself some sort of shirt.

Don't pee in public. Evanston cops are super strict about this. Pee in a porta-potty (at most frat parties and in Fireman's Park) or in a bathroom on campus, but never in public.

— Similarly, no open containers. Again, cops are strict, and you will get in trouble if found on the street with open containers.

— Be careful drinking in dorms and Greek housing (especially the sorority quad). RAs and PHA/IFC routinely check in dorm rooms throughout the day.

— Find a crew and stick with them. Dillo is obviously more fun with friends, but it can be difficult to find them ify ou're not together to begin with. Make some plans ahead of time so you're not aimlessly wandering when you should be having fun.

— Wear weather-appropriate clothes. It might rain this year (ugh), so be prepared! Conversely, please wear sunscreen. Nobody wants a tank top burn.

No Greek letters. Just don't do it.

Most importantly, have fun! I'll see you out there!