I am absolutely enamored with traditions and the meanings behind them. There are some traditions that I know and follow myself, and some that I am very curious to learn more about. So, I have decided to start a new series called Traditions Tuesdays! Today's tradition is all about banquet coolers. For those of you who aren't familiar with banquets, they are beach weekends that fraternities host. Each brother in the fraternity invites a date to accompany him on the weekend, and the date is in charge of painting a cooler that represents their date. Often times, girls will paint logos of the brother's favorite sports teams, clothing companies, beer or other alcoholic beverages, a beach scene, or symbols from that brother's fraternity.
Cooler painting has become such a popular tradition that there is a Facebook group, The Cooler Connection, devoted to tips and tricks on how to best paint your cooler. Girls can also upload pictures of their finished coolers to the group to display them for everyone to see!
This year, I went to two banquets, one for Sigma Pi two weekends ago and one for Delta Upsilon this past weekend. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of my cooler from Sigma Pi, but I have the ones from the cooler I made for the Delta Upsilon banquet!
I was really excited to paint this cooler, because I had a lot of interesting ideas for it. For the top, I decided to paint my date's name in the Lilly Pulitzer font, and surround it with the pattern of the shorts he wore on our first date.
On the front, I painted five different Smathers & Branson belts, all of which my date owns since he works for the company.
On the back, I painted the album cover of Kenny Chesney's new CD that features the lyrics from the song Pirate Flag.
On one of the short sides, I painted the logo of Christmas Ale from the Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland, Ohio since my date is from Ohio and this is his favorite ale from that company.
And finally, on the other short side I painted a picture of a guy wearing chubbies shorts with their phrase, "sky's out, thighs out."
Of course, banquet is about more than just painting a cooler. It is about having fun on the beach with friends, and is usually about celebrating the seniors in the fraternity who are about to graduate. However, cooler painting is one of the biggest traditions tied to banquets. This was the last cooler I will ever make for a banquet, and I had a blast painting it! If you have ever been to a banquet and have any fun stories about painting a cooler for your date, I'd love to hear from you below!