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'Candlelight Dinner' part of game day tradition

NOTRE DAME, Ind.-The tables are set, the food is ready to serve and the candles are lit. Not long before the Fighting Irish take the field.

Every game day, Campus Dining transforms Notre Dame’s North and South Dining Halls to host a feast for every fan from both sides to enjoy, known as the “Candlelight Dinner.”

“The dinner really speaks to our traditions,” said Chris Abayasinghe, Senior Director of Campus Dining. “It’s an opportunity for our fans, students and visitors to be able to celebrate an impending Notre Dame win.”

It’s a longstanding game day tradition, formally known as “banquets.”

“The earliest mention we can see for a football dinner is about the 1940’s,” Abayasinghe said. “The tradition actually began around football itself and then from there, it spread to all the students as they were dining together.”

Each dinner has a special theme. Senior Executive Chef Donald Miller says he and his team do their research weeks in advance and pick recipes that perfectly match the theme.

“It’s a little something different and it gets the whole staff a little juiced and excited,” Miller said. “Everybody is trying to put their best foot forward.”

Whether its alumni, current students or fans from the opposing side walking through their doors, the staff says football season is their favorite time of the year.

“There’s just such a passion and I’ve been on other campuses, but I really think that it’s something special here,” Miller said.

If you’re not a student, you must pay to get into the dinners. More information can be found HERE.

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