More than 30,000 people are expected to attend the 93rd annual College Royal, taking place March 18 and 19 at the University of Guelph.

College Royal is North America’s largest student-run university open house. The theme of this year’s event is “A Royal Night in Guelph,” a take on the long-running television program Hockey Night in Canada.

“Hockey is something many Canadians enjoy and come together to watch or participate in, similar to College Royal,” said Hannah Sweett, vice-president of public relations for the event’s organizing committee.

Highlights this year include live music in the University Centre courtyard and club exhibits, along with annual favourite such as livestock shows, square dancing, and dog and cat shows.

The organizing committee hopes to attract new and repeat visitors, said Sweett.

“College Royal is for everyone from students and prospective students to families, bringing people from all over for a fun-filled event. It’s free and has something for everyone,” she said.

Other family-friendly events include campus tours, a bubble soccer competition, logging contests, photography and art shows, a figure skating show, a flower-arranging competition and a pancake-flipping contest.

Back for another year is the popular Great Town and Gown Chili Chowdown. For a $2 donation to the Guelph Food Bank, visitors can sample chili from downtown Guelph restaurants and U of G eateries.

For kids, there’s Old MacDonald’s New Farm, a junior tractor rodeo, face painting, teddy bear surgery, a chemistry magic show and food science milkshakes.

Returning from last year is a carnival for kids, including sumo suits, an obstacle course and arcade-style game inflatables.

U of G student clubs and classes have designed displays and exhibits.

A lot of work goes into arranging the two-day affair, said Sweett.

“We have a team of 80, plus executive, each with a specific role and many volunteers. What many people don’t realize is that we spend the whole year working on making it the best event it can be,” she said.

“This has been the highlight of my time at U of G. The lifelong friends I have made are amazing. The endless amount of planning that goes into it and the countless hours spent each week on advertising and promotional items are all worth it when I see the attendance and smiles at College Royal.”

For a complete schedule of events, visit the College Royal website. For more information, email or call 519-824-4120, Ext. 58366.