Elon University’s annual family weekend begins Sept. 30, drawing people from all over the country to campus. According to a spokesman from the Family Weekend Committee, 1,989 families are registered to attend this weekend’s festivities, and local businesses are preparing for the busy time ahead. 

Kimberly Holt, owner of Pandora’s Pies, said she is looking forward to the incoming crowds, not only for the added business, but to liven up the town too. 

“There’s a lot happening,” Holt said. “There’s people everywhere, it’s nice to see movement on the street.” 

Business owners like Phil Smith of The Oak House are anticipating an influx of people and are stocking up on products. Smith said he will be ordering all the excess necessities during the week leading up to Family Weekend. 

“It is kind of a calm before the storm,” Smith said.

Similarly, Holt described the preparation process as extensive and tedious, with loads of planning that needs to be done. Holt is even having some former employees, now college students, come home for the weekend, strengthening her staff even further. 

“We are doing two or three times more prep work in the kitchen as far as food, making sure that we have enough to feed everybody,” Holt said. During past busier campus events, businesses in town have struggled. Holt said during the 2020 commencement weekend she ran out of cheese. She is looking to stock up to avoid similar issues this year.

Smith will be looking at numbers and stock from the 2019 season, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, to estimate the number of ingredients and materials he needs to supply. He will also be scheduling extra staff but said he expects it to be a hectic weekend nonetheless.

“No matter how hard you prepare or how well you think it through, it’s still going to be a little bit of controlled chaos,” Smith said.

Both Smith and Holt said Family Weekend is the second busiest time on campus, with Commencement Week ranking first. The two advise incoming families to understand the stress businesses will be going through, and to be forgiving with them throughout the weekend.

“Be patient,” Holt said. “There are only so many restaurants in Elon, and then when all of a sudden you get an extra couple thousand people in town, just be patient with all of the restaurants that we’re doing the best we can.”