Growling at the Meineke Bowl April 13, 2012 — EVANSTON, ILL. — Northwestern University football fans will be catching their first glimpse of the 2012 Wildcat football team and the 2012 Wildcat Band this Saturday. Wildcat faithful are invited to Ryan Field on the Evanston campus on Saturday, April 14, to enjoy the annual Spring Exhibition game. Start time for on-field action is set for noon, but there are plenty of reasons to arrive early and enjoy a full day of fun, football, and music from the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band.

Admission and parking for the Spring Exhibition are free. Fans may begin parking in the lots surrounding Ryan Field as early as 7 a.m. for tailgating, and gates to the stadium will open at 10:30 a.m., 90 minutes before the exhibition.

"The band will give a pregame performance on the field at 11:50 a.m.," says Daniel J. Farris, Director of Athletic Bands.

Before and during the exhibition, Wildcat fans of all ages are invited to partake in games and interactive inflatables on site as well as enjoy concessions and face painters in and around the stadium. Additionally, a free youth football clinic presented by Meijer will precede the exhibition, with representatives from Northwestern Football offering tips and instruction to all youngsters looking to improve their skills.

Throughout the exhibition, which lasts about two hours, the Wildcat band will perform popular music from the stands, Farris says.

A Clarion Call for Northwestern After the exhibition, stick around for the chance to interact with players and coaches and participate in an autograph session during the "Cool Down with the 'Cats." A special giveaway will be available for all fans who participate in the Cool Down!

The date of the Spring Exhibition also represents the deadline for season ticket renewals. Account executives from the Northwestern Athletics ticket office will be on hand to answer any questions for fans regarding tickets for the upcoming 2012 season.

For more information about the Spring Exhibition, see the timeline of events below or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SPRING EXHIBITION: TIMELINE OF FAMILY ACTIVITIES

7 a.m.: Tailgating Lots Open —  Recall the fun and festivities of Saturdays in the fall by starting the day off with a tailgate in the parking lots located east and west of Ryan Field. Passes are not required and parking is free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

10:30 a.m.: Ryan Field Gates Open — Find your seat for the Spring Exhibition or check out the view from your 2012 season ticket location! Also be sure to explore all the entertainment on site and take advantage of the chance to win great Northwestern prizes.

10:30 a.m.: Youth Football Clinic presented by Meijer — All youngsters in the eighth grade and under are invited to participate in a football skills clinic prior to the Spring Exhibition. The clinic will be held on NU's outdoor turf practice field located just to the north of Ryan Field. Clinic participants will receive instruction from current NU football players. Former Wildcat, and current Chicago Bear linebacker, Nick Roach will be the key note speaker at this year's clinic. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged as space is limited. To register your team or league, contact a Northwestern Athletics ticket representative by phone at 888-GO-PURPLE, or download and return the registration form and requisite waiver linked at the top of this page. Check-in on the day of the event begins at 10 a.m.

11:50 a.m.: Pregame Performance from the Wildcat Band — Hear the 2012 Wildcat Marching Band for the first time as they perform the national anthem and other popular music on the field.

Post-Exhibition: "Cool Down with the 'Cats"-- Approximately 15 minutes after the exhibition, fans will be invited onto the field to cool down with the 'Cats, take pictures and get autographs from the team. There is also a special giveaway for all fans who participate.

All Spring Exhibition activities are weather permitting; visit NUsports.com for the latest updates.

&emdash;Northwestern Athletics, with additional reporting from Daniel M. Reck (GSESP08)

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