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They're ba-ack. These style-conscious masses will be buying up vast quantities of University-logoed paraphernalia, taking endless pictures of the Ben Franklin statue, and making local restaurants forget that the recession ever occurred. Yes, it's that special Parents Weekend time again. And as usual, the University community has gone all out to make sure that the folks feel they are getting their money's worth. From today until Sunday, the University will be abuzz with receptions, wine and cheese affairs, and cocktail parties, providing ample opportunity for the masses of mothers to show off what little University trivia they remember from the campus tour they took years ago, and for the flocks of fathers to munch on mounds of hors d'oeuvres. Engineering junior Ken MacFarlane's plans will be typically packed with many activities. MacFarlane said that he and his parents plan to attend Performing Arts Night, a reception with Engineering School Dean Gregory Farrington, a brunch for Band members and their parents, see the football game, and go out to dinner. For many, the highlight of the weekend will be the football game tomorrow afternoon. Hundreds of excited Mommies and Daddies will meet up with their groggy-eyed progeny to see the winless Quakers play the winless Brown University Bears. And much to the joy of local eateries, the "Proud Penn Parents" have brought their credit cards. Wayne Right, manager of Center City favorite Astral Plane, said that "our reservations are almost booked for the weekend," and seafood restaurant Bookbinder's 15th Street Seafood House owner Richard Bookbinder said Parents Weekend is "usually big for us." But while some fear the annual onslaught of the middle-aged, many students said they were looking forward to the occasion, or at least to the free meals. College freshman Becky Anderko said she is excited for her parents' impending arrival Saturday from Bethlehem. "We plan to go to the game and go out to dinner," Anderko said. "I guess I'm looking forward to it, but I just saw them over break." Anderko said she wasn't worried about her parents' embarrassing her, because "everybody else's parents will be there too, so it won't be a big deal." Some students, however, felt that Parents Weekend arrived too close to Fall Break. Wharton freshman Todd Hazelkorn said he is "kinda indifferent" to his parents' Long Island trek, adding "a lot of people just went home, [there's] no thrill in seeing your parents again . . . I had gone home for fall break." But Hazelkorn's disappointment was lessened by the prospect of free food. "It's good for a free meal, maybe two," Hazelkorn said. MacFarlane said he feels Parents Weekend is a good idea. "It gives parents a chance to see what they are paying for," MacFarlane said. High Rise North Desk Receptionist Stephanie Robinson said that she has already given out 12 weekend guest passes to parents, and that she expects to pass out "dozens more." "The students are excited and so are the parents," Robinson said.

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