PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s home football games are fast gaining a reputation for providing one of the best game atmospheres in the Pac-10. This fall, the university is expanding the slate of activities to give Cougar fans even more to do and see on game weekends.

The all-weekend celebrations include barbecues, concerts, classes taught by WSU’s world-class faculty and a host of other special events and activities.

“WSU will continue to put the focus on the entire weekend for each home football game,” said Sally Savage, vice president for University Relations. “Once again we offer a diverse mix of experiences, ranging from art exhibits and special lectures for the entire family to delectable culinary events and live music.”

WSU home football game dates and opponents this year are Sept. 18 (Future Cougar/Band Day), University of Idaho; Oct. 9 (WSU Foundation Weekend), University of Oregon; Oct. 16 (Homecoming), Stanford; Oct. 30 (Dad’s Weekend), University of Southern California and Nov. 20 (Apple Cup), University of Washington.

Local festivities will begin with the return of Cougar First Down Friday, running from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17 on Main Street in downtown Pullman. A collaborative effort between the City of Pullman and WSU, the event includes a street food and craft fair, pep rally and an assortment of other activities for all Cougar fans.

Cougar Family Fun – family oriented pre-game entertainment featuring food, the Northwest Dodge Kid’s Carnival, Cougar memorabilia, Cougar Marching Band concerts and pep rallies – will be one of the new home game offerings this year. It will be held prior to the first three local home games and begin three and one-half hours before game time at the WSU Mooberry Track.

Through Oct. 17, Cougar fans attending home games will be able to take in a world-class exhibit of internationally renowned artist Jim Dine and a variety of sculpture created by Dine and other artists produced by the Walla Walla Foundry.

Once again this fall, all home game weekends also include Cougar Conversations, an opportunity to explore many of today’s hottest topics through free one-hour classes taught WSU’s world-class faculty. The classes begin four hours prior to kickoff. Additional information on class offerings is available online at football-weekends.wsu.edu.

Starting next month, home game weekends also will include the Feast of the Arts, a series of fine dining and entertainment offered each Friday. Under the direction of renowned WSU School of Hospitality Business Management Chef Gene Fritz, students will present four-course meals and wines from some of Washington’s finest wineries. Diners will meet alumni vintners from across the state, listen to WSU’s finest musicians and vocalists, and see art exhibits from WSU’s Museum of Art.

The Friday evening dinners are scheduled on Oct. 8, Oct. 15, Oct. 29 and Nov. 19. The cost is $50 per person. The room seats 60 diners. Because of the dinners’ popularity, reservations should be made early. Reservations can be made online at www.cbe.wsu.edu/~dine; by calling (509) 335-3463; or by sending an e-mail, to dine@wsu.edu.

For additional information on all WSU home game weekend events, call (509) 335-4224 or visit www.football-weekends.wsu.edu on the Web.