In the 152-year history of American college football, it has played a role in shaping the sports culture and societal traditions like few entities.
From making autumn Saturdays into its own dedicated holidays to the national attention the Iron Bowl receives, college football is an American tradition in itself, filled with its own folklore. A key component for years has been tailgating.
Hours before every game, hundreds of fans congregate in parking lots to set up an event in itself. Music, laughs and the smell of grills and food fill the air as fans open the backs of their cars and party in the parking lots.
Traditional food and drink include beer, grilled meats and standard Southern sides. Lawn games — particularly cornhole, pong and ladder golf — are set up in any space that permits, bringing out the competitive edge in the sports fans who are hungry for action.
At Appalachian State, wave of black and gold-clad fans and their tents fill multiple parking lots around Kidd Brewer Stadium, building up to the Mountaineers taking the field.
Spaces open for tailgating include the Greenwood Lot on Bodenheimer Drive for Yosef Club Members and students with a permit (assigned spaces); the Raley/Duncan/Music lots on Rivers Street for students and Yosef Club members with the proper hang-tag; and Stadium and Justice lots which is open to Yosef Club members with appropriate hang-tags. Additionally, the university offers the alcohol-free tailgate called the family fun zone on the site of the first ever football field on Appalachian’s campus.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages may take place in designated parking lots by fans of legal drinking age; those participating in drinking alcoholic beverages must be able to present a valid driver’s license or photo ID to reflect their age upon request. Spirituous liquor, kegs, common containers and glass containers are not permitted in any location.
App State’s football tailgating policy states that propane and charcoal grills are the only permissible sources of heat for cooking. The university states that burned coals and/or residue from cooking is not allowed to make contact with the paved surface of the parking lot. Hot coals must be completely extinguished with water prior to leaving the tailgating site. Open flame fires are prohibited.
The university also recommends that fans use their vehicles to power any audio or video equipment. While generators are not prohibited, they are not recommended as they present safety hazards. Additionally, fans can use bathrooms that are available in Trivette Hall, the Plemmons Student Union and the Central Dining Hall; portable bathrooms are located in parking lots and tailgate locations throughout campus.
Tailgating attendees are able to dispose of trash in nearby dumpsters that have been placed in high-traffic tailgate areas. Representatives from a number of agencies pass out trash bags in various parking lots throughout the day to ensure all tailgating garbage is picked up.
This season, fans will have multiple opportunities to tailgate, with The Rock hosting six home games. The Nov. 13 matchup with South Alabama and the Nov. 27 bout with Georgia Southern kick off at 2:30 p.m., the Sept. 18 game against Elon and the Oct. 30 tilt against Louisiana-Monroe will start at 3:30 p.m. and the heavily-anticipated clashes with Marshall on Sept. 23 and Coastal Carolina on Oct. 20 will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at www.appstatesports.com/tickets, or by calling (828) 262-2079 (press 0 for a ticket representative, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)