It is officially football season y’all! Football season is a huge part of fall and tailgates are the pregame to the football game. Every football fan prepares for tailgates weeks in advance and always try to outdo each other. They have tons of food and drinks and always a game of cornhole being played. At Tarleton State University it is just like any other tailgate; the Greeks have their spots, university organizations have their spots and the venders have their spots. When you walk around Texan Alley you can see ROTC members throwing a football, the Tarleton Parents Association serving up food and a band playing music. I recommend to spend time during the tailgates to walk around all of Texan Alley and see what all venders and organizations have to offer. Many businesses buy spots and come out to represent their business and give away free things like cups, bandanas, towels, etc.
The majority of the Greek organizations and university organizations cook out all morning and serve food to tailgaters. However, not all the food is an open buffet, you usually have to know someone or bring your own food to cook. A greater part of the Greek organizations will have their spots set up with grills and tents with their members standing around talking and serving food to their members and friends. The Alumni Association serves many assortments of food for free to anyone who may want to chow down. The Parents Association also serves food and drinks to tailgaters and they usually have tables you can sit down at to eat.
To have a spot at the tailgates the Greeks, family and organizations pay the $40 per tailgate and it is two parking spots vertically; therefore, if you would ever want to buy a spot it is $40, and you must do it beforehand. The other option is buying the season pass for tailgates, five home games, for $125.
For the big tailgates like the ones during family weekend or homecoming week, Tarleton will usually have musicians to put on concerts during the tailgates. My freshman year for homecoming they had Bart Crow and last year Sam Riggs came during family weekend. Even on normal tailgates, Tarleton will sometimes have smaller bands come out and perform. I recommend going to all tailgates but especially the ones when they have the known artists come out and listen to free concerts while enjoying time with friends.
At any college tailgate the girls dress cute and the guys sport the school’s colors. At Tarleton it is no different, guys are in their purple Tarleton polos and the girls are rocking boots or heels. So, girls, if y’all want to dress cute go for it; however, be prepared to be standing or walking around for a few hours in either hot or cold weather. Guys, you keep on sporting those polos and Chubbies or jeans and boots. I recommend paying attention to the weather because you don’t want to be wearing pants on a hot, humid day or shorts on a cloudy 60-degree day. It has been recommended that on a hot steamy day wear thin, breathable clothes; for girls, jean skirts, tank tops, crop tops with boots or sandals. For guys it is simple, for the warmer weather you got your Chubbies and boat shoes. When it starts getting cooler wear thick clothes or multiple thin layers; girls, pull out those thigh high boots and cute cardigans and guys, switch the Chubbies for jeans and boat shoes for boots.
Tailgates are usually start three to four hours before kickoff. That is three to four hours of standing or walking around, talking to friends, eating and drinking. We are obviously in college so there will be drinking at tailgates and people will drink before going to tailgates. As an upper-classman, I can say that about 90 percent of tailgaters will be drinking and/or carrying around boxes of beer and coolers. If you have been drinking please be smart and careful, always have someone with you. Make sure you take some water with you for when you either eat or drink. The food and drinks however are not always free. Majority of the spots do not hand out alcohol and if they do it would only be to friends that they know are of age. The food is about the same, there a few of the associations ran by parents and alumni who usually serve food to tailgaters for free; the Greeks will handout food to their members, friends and families. Even if you are friends with people who have food, it is respected if you help provide food, drinks or anything else they might need. Do not be the person who mooches off of everyone and not help supply anything, you will mostly likely not be invited back.
When I was a freshman I would have wished I would have known a few things before I went to my first tailgate. One of those things would have been about how many people there would be, I am not a fan of big crowds so I was not ready for it. Another thing would have been, as someone who was hardly hung out with people my age who drank, seeing friends drinking or just complete strangers drunk and wobbling around the parking lot. As an upper-classman now, I have been to a fair share of tailgates and experienced it all, the food, friends, and concerts. This fall get your friends and go to the tailgates, look cute or not, go from beginning to end or just for an hour. I can assure you that they will not be a disappointment and you will regret it if you do not go and experience at least one. However, don’t party too hard and forget to go cheer on the Texans’ football team to victory after the tailgate.