'Unofficial' Facebook author surprised at invitation's spread

CHAMPAIGN — Daniel Stich was only 10 years old when the first Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day swept the University of Illinois campus. As a fifth-grader in Mount Vernon, he wasn’t quite ready for green beer.

But the 23-year-old UI senior is ready to participate in his fifth Unofficial holiday and has invited a few friends.

More than 26,000.

It’s somehow fitting that a major in actuarial science — the work of calculating risks with numbers — would be the one to launch a Facebook event invitation that has morphed into thousands of young people from all over Illinois and many from out of state saying they’ll be in Champaign-Urbana today to party.

By Thursday, almost 18,000 Facebookers had said they were attending.

Another 8,600 or so hadn’t made up their minds.

"I wasn’t expecting it to catch on that much," Stich said of the Facebook posting he created in early February.

Stich said he doesn’t have Friday classes this semester so he’ll be mixing up his Unofficial activities, including visiting bars and private parties alike.

It’s the latter that are more worrisome to police in terms of their ability to control.

In the opinion of the veteran Stich, the parties are a result of the cities raising the bar entry age to 21 for the day.

More in Friday's News-Gazette.

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