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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Game day gatherings

On Saturdays when Aggie football commences in Kyle Field, maroon-clad students fill the stadium by the tens of thousands. Yet for some fans, game day begins much earlier. Hours before kickoff, rabid fans hungry for action satisfy their appetite with a pre-game tailgate party.
Tailgate parties, commonly referred as “tailgates,” can serve a variety of purposes. Tailgates can range from personal ventures hosted by a group of friends or a family to full-blown, commercial tailgate parties – an option that is becoming increasingly popular and attractive to fans.
When planning a tailgate party, a variety of factors must be considered. Planning, supplies and University rules and regulations are vital to the success of pre-game festivities.
One or two weeks of preparation can be very beneficial for all involved. This allows sufficient time to contact friends and family in order to make arrangements such as where to meet, what time and who will bring the various necessities.
The size of the party is often a determinant on where the tailgate should be held. Small groups of friends often find places such as parking lots to suit their needs.
Bryan Shore, a senior psychology major, has his own system for ensuring an optimal tailgating site.
“We usually have somebody park their truck in a spot the night before to reserve a place for our tailgate,” he said.
Tailgate parties can be found in virtually all parking lots and open areas prior to all football games. Recreational vehicles (RVs), can park in Lot 74. Parking is free and is on a first-come first-serve basis. RVs must park after 5:30 p.m. on the night before the game. Because of 12th Man parking occupying all close parking areas around Kyle Field, many students tend to seek out a nice piece of real estate on some grass or under a tree for convenience.
Larger tailgates, such as those held by The Association of Former Students, require much more space.
“We tailgate before every home game in front of the Clayton W. Williams Alumni Center,” said Christina Horz, communications coordinator for The Association.
When a tailgate party occurs, its duration fluctuates from group to group.
“We begin an hour and a half or so before the game if it is a night game,” said Josh Connelly, Class of 1999. “If it is a day game, the tailgate starts right after the game and ends whenever everyone decides to leave.”
The Association regularly starts three hours before the game and ends 30 minutes before kickoff.
Once the location and time have been set, the real fun begins.
“A grill, an ice chest and people are essential to a good party,” said Shore. “It is a good way to socialize with a large crowd without a cover charge.”
Current and former students, family and friends find tailgates an opportune time to reunite. Lawn chairs, tents and picnic tables create a casual environment in which conversations flourish, not to mention large consumption of food and drinks.
Most of the social activity, however, gravitates around the food. Many party-goers add their own touch to the party by contributing to the food selection. Tailgate cuisines vary from barbeque to deli sandwiches to fajitas. Homemade pudding, cookies, brownies and various other deserts enhance the meal. Drinks range from lemonade to alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is permitted only on the day of the event in the general proximity of the event. However, it is prohibited in any University facilities, on the MSC Lawn, Simpson Drill Field, Chapel Grounds and Cain Park. Therefore, students and visitors who are 21 or older may consume alcohol in designated locations on game days.
Once the food has been eaten and the tent has been packed, many leave for the game or head home.
Early arrival for pre-game parties is beneficial to those who are eager to snag a prime parking spot, minimize the walk and ensure a full stomach for the game. On the other hand, post-game tailgate parties ensure a relaxing environment, especially if the outcome of the game is in the Aggies favor, and avoidance of the severe traffic congestion after the game.

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