This post is not about the 1985 movie, “The Breakfast Club.” I am actually referring to a Saturday morning activity that takes place on the campus of Purdue University. Students get up at the crack of dawn (sometimes before the crack of dawn), dress in costumes and line up at the bars to start their day of drinking. This mostly takes place on football weekends, but also on Grand Prix weekend in April.
Breakfast Club began in the late 80s, started by bar owners. Initially there were different versions at different bars, and then the students decided to wear costumes. Pete’s Bar and Grill was one of the first Breakfast Club bars. Currently, Harry’s Chocolate Shop is one of the most popular bars in West Lafayette.
Last year I attended my first Breakfast Club. The plan was Breakfast Club, then attend the Grand Prix. Now a little about the Grand Prix - it is billed as the Greatest Spectacle in College Racing. Like the Indianapolis 500, the race consists of 33 drivers. Unlike the 500, the cars are go-karts and the length of the race is 50 miles (160 laps). The current course is modeled after the World Kart Championship Track in Japan. Previously it was held in the parking lot at Ross-Ade Stadium.
The weather did not cooperate last year. It was in the 50s and raining. I drove to Purdue with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew Friday night, and I spent the night at my niece’s sorority house. Paul, Lori and Aaron had a hotel.
As a non-sorority girl, it was fun to stay at the Phi Mu house. I slept on a futon in Megan’s tiny room, which was near the stairwell door, so the door slammed shut all night. I had my earplugs so it wasn’t too bad. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, conveniently next door to her room. I decided to leave in my earplugs so as to not have to smash them in my ears again. The bathroom had two sides – one with several sinks and toilet stalls, the other side, shower stalls. So I’m in the toilet stall and I hear someone talking. I could hear it, but didn’t pay attention with my earplugs in, and I couldn’t understand everything. As I flushed and exited the stall, a girl was standing there in her “going out” clothes, looking at me, a huge, 46 year-old woman. She said, “Oh! I thought you were “Brittany!” I introduced myself as Megan’s aunt and apologized for not responding, then explained I thought she was talking to someone else. It was maybe 2 a.m.
Megan and I got up around 5 a.m. Her sorority sister, Lauren, brought us McDonalds and we got dressed in our costumes. Not a good choice for a cold day – we were the Silver Twins, the dark-haired baton-twirling girls with the Purdue All-American Marching Band. (There is the Golden Girl, the Silver Twins and the Girl-in-Black.) Lauren was the Golden Girl.
We made our costumes out of gray tank tops sprayed with glitter and sparkly sarongs. I even scored batons and Megan made sliver P’s for our hair. Since it was cold we wore our gray Chuck Taylors and white rain jackets. No pants. It. Was. Freezing. We got to the Neon Cactus around 6 a.m. The line was already super long. We stood there for a couple hours and didn’t move. I finally had to go to the bathroom and stood in another line inside the laundromat. At least it was warm. Although when I went back outside I felt colder than before.
|Outside the Neon Cactus|
Paul and Lori were dressed warmly as Minions and Aaron was Gru.
Our next stop was Harry’s. We heard it opened at 9 a.m. When we got there, we found out it actually opened at 10 a.m., so we had to wait another hour. At least we stood under an overhang so didn’t get wet. This was the longest morning EVER. Once inside, we did score some window seats. And lots of popcorn. I toyed with ordering food, but the popcorn is free so ate several bags.
Drinks? I had a Baltimore Zoo (a Harry’s staple) and a Green Dragon. The Baltimore Zoo is described as a glorified Long Island Iced Tea without the coke, and like drinking Kool-Aid. It contains one shot each of vodka, light rum, gin, triple sec, Southern Comfort peach liqueur, amaretto almond liqueur and grenadine syrup, along with one dash each of sweet and sour mix and beer. Tasty! Harry’s is said to have the best.
I can’t find a specific recipe for Harry’s Green Dragon, but it’s a bunch of liquor in a cup and it’s green. And good!
So we hung out at Harry’s for about five hours. It was warm, we had popcorn, and I was feeling good. The Grand Prix was cancelled due to weather so we had no place to go anyway. Eventually we all got in Lori’s car to drive back to Megan’s. Even with our jackets on, Megan and I still got glitter all over the inside of Lori’s new car. Whoops! (She’s still not happy about it!)
Back to present day - this year I skipped the early-morning drinking and instead arrived for mid-morning/early afternoon drinking. We hit Brothers and Harry’s. I also didn’t dress up this year. I considered dressing as the girl on the Big Comfy Couch, but since Paul and I drove up that day, I thought by the time we got there Megan would be done with the bars. She and her boyfriend, Taylor, dressed as Bananas in Pajamas.
The weather was much improved from last year. Sunny and warm, and in the high 60s.
Brothers was lots of fun. Very loud, but fun. They played music videos – a video jukebox of sorts, and they played mostly 80s music. I was pleased to see most of the students knew all the words! Even County Road Take Me Home! They may not know who John Denver is, but they know the song. It warmed my heart. They even played Lee Greenwood’s, “God Bless The USA.” Paul and I each had a double Bloody Mary.
We moved on to Harry’s (we were getting hungry) and slid in with Megan’s friends who already had a table upstairs. This time I followed Megan’s suggestion and got a Grateful Dead. Again, don’t know what’s in it, but she said it is similar to the Green Dragon but tastes like cherry. Very good as well. And this time I felt the effects (just a tiny bit dizzy). I also successfully did my cherry-tying trick in near record time.
Paul and I left Harry’s, got some lunch and made it to the race this year. (For the record, we walked to lunch and then on to the parking lot by Ross Ade to catch the shuttle to the race.) It was very exciting! Cars No. 1 and 4 ran very close and battled it out for first/second place. Car No. 1’s driver won the past three years and was trying to be the first four-time winner. Car No. 4 was a rookie from IUPUI. Car No. 1 eventually won – Jimmy Simpson. It was a good race and the weather was perfect.
|Don't think I could fit in there!|
Lori’s brother helps out with one of the teams so we hung out after the race with him and his wife Candy. Those cars are super small. Some interesting facts – the tires are used for the whole race. They come in a set and are not changed out during the race. The cars do pit, also like Indy car, but to get more fuel, they exchange fuel tanks. They take out the entire fuel tank and replace it with a full one. And they only need to do it once during the race.
Megan was napping when we got back to her apartment so we said a quick goodbye and went home. Most of the students do not attend the race. They dress up, drink and then go home to sleep it off. There was a good crowd out at the track though, but it is probably more skewed toward alumni and family.
Another successful Breakfast Club Weekend!