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Action-packed day set April 21 for SpringFest, including football, Chessick groundbreaking

April 14, 2012
Dave Doeren

Dave Doeren

A full day of festivities and activities for Huskie fans of all ages is on tap for Saturday, April 21.

Northern Illinois will combine its traditional Spring Football Game and Huskie Athletic Support Fund Tailgate Showdown events with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Chessick Practice Center, the annual NIU fraternity TUGS finals showdown, Huskie baseball and women’s tennis and more.

All events, except the HASF Tailgate Showdown ($15 admission) and the TUGS competition are free to the public.

Parking is available for no charge along Stadium Drive and in the Convocation Center lots. Parking MIGHT be permitted on the East and West grass of Huskie Stadium depending on the weather throughout the coming week.

Due to the groundbreaking event and the baseball game, the Yordon Center parking lots will NOT be available during SpringFest.

The TUGS competition will take place all day (except during the Spring Game) on the east side of Huskie Stadium and this year, the HASF Tailgate Showdown tent will move to the east grass. The Chessick Practice Center Groundbreaking will be held at the site of the new facility, the grassy area in front of the Yordon Center (toward the north end of the stadium), beginning at 11 a.m. Donors to the project, including Ken and Ellen Chessick, will be on hand, along with university dignitaries and athletic department coaches and staff, for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Huskies’ newest building project.

Following the HASF Tailgate Showdown (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), which will feature food from some of NIU’s top tailgaters as well as local businesses and restaurant, a beer garden and the highly coveted awards, the action moves to Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium where Dave Doeren’s 2012 team takes the field for the Annual Red-Black Scrimmage at 1:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to sit in the stands on either the East or West Side of Huskie Stadium.

Concessions will be available for sale on the West Side, and the NIU Athletics Information Kiosk will be manned outside of the West stands.

NIU Huskies football teamAthletic department staffers will accept season ticket renewals and new orders, Soldier Field ticket orders, and HASF Annual Fund renewals, as well as answer any questions, at the Tailgate Showdown entrance or at the kiosk. Several open seat locations will be marked inside Huskie Stadium to show all ticket purchasers the affordable options still available for 2012.

With five Saturday games at Huskie Stadium, including match-ups versus Kansas (Sept. 22) and Central Michigan (Sept. 29), the only MAC team to defeat the Huskies a year ago, Homecoming versus Buffalo (Oct. 13) and the Wednesday night rivalry game versus Toledo (Nov. 14), Northern Illinois’ 2012 home schedule is one of the most attractive in recent memory. The complete schedule is online.

For fans who aren’t interested in the full, and extremely affordable, full six-game season ticket ($120 general public), NIU offers two options at the $60 price.

The NIU Mini-Plan allows fans to choose any three games for $60, while the new Huskieland Plan provides a ticket to the Tennessee-Martin, Kansas and Toledo games AND $15 gift cards to each of our three participating sponsors – HyVee, Buffalo Wild Wings and Village Commons Bookstore. With single game tickets priced at $30/$24/$20 (depending on seat location), the mini-plans nearly offer the equivalent of a FREE game even without the $45 in gift cards with the Huskieland Plan.

Photo of boys cheering on the Huskies with "NIU!" painted on their chestsDon’t forget that kids in eighth-grade or below can receive free admission to all regular season home athletic events, including football games, by joining the Prairie View Dental Pup Club for just $35.

The 2012 season ticket renewal deadline is quickly approaching and season ticket holders are urged to turn in their orders for both the Huskie Stadium schedule and Soldier Field Showdown III as soon as possible. On May 7, tickets to the Sept. 1 NIU-Iowa game at the famed Chicago venue will go on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster.

In addition to the special events and football spring game, three Huskie teams will be in action Saturday, April 21. The MAC Champion men’s soccer team will play a spring exhibition game versus Lewis University at Noon at the NIU Soccer/Track & Field Complex; the Huskie baseball team plays the second of three weekend games versus Toledo at Ralph McKinzie Field at 1:05 p.m. On the adjacent West Tennis Courts, the Northern Illinois women’s tennis team will be in action versus Akron beginning at 1 p.m.

The entire SpringFest 2012 Schedule of Events is listed below. For more information, call the NIU External Office at 815-753-1923.

Saturday, April 21, 2012 – Huskie Stadium

  • 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – TUGS (East Grass)
  • 11 a.m. – groundbreaking for Chessick Practice Center (Field North of Yordon Center)
  • 11:30 a.m. – HASF Tailgate Showdown (East Grass)
  • Noon – men’s soccer exhibition vs. Lewis (Soccer-Track Complex)
  • 1 p.m. – baseball vs. Toledo (McKinzie Field)
  • 1 p.m. – women’s tennis vs. Akron (West Courts)
  • 1:30 p.m. – spring football game (Huskie Stadium)

For more information on NIU football and Huskie athletics, visit