Easters was a legendary University of Virginia party lasting from Monday through Saturday following Easter Sunday that was once named the "best party in America" by Playboy Magazine. The last Easters took place in 1982.
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Easters began in the late 19th century, at least as far back as 1898, as a week long event involving formal dances and athletic games. It was one of the University's "Big Weekends," including Openings and Midwinters. With Thomas Jefferson's birthday falling on April 13, it also served as a chance to celebrate UVa's founder. In the early years, Easters was "pledged," meaning that attending students promised under the honor code to not imbibe alcohol. That would not last.
The week-long series of dances gradually transitioned to events focused on the Rugby Road area. In 1939, students voted to skip spring break because it landed on the same week as Easters. Until the 1950s, though, the week maintained a sense of order and decorum.
"Best Party in America"
By the 1970s, Easters had taken its final form. The Madison Bowl was turned into a giant mud pit via rain and water hoses. In 1976, 15,000 people packed the Mad Bowl and the surrounding area. However, University administrators began to worry about the impact of visiting students and townspeople on the parties and the fallout on the University's reputation. The Mad Bowl portion of the weekend was moved after 1976. Fearing that the tradition undermined the University's image as a serious academic institution, President Frank L. Hereford Jr. banned the festival near grounds and by 1982 the tradition had died.