Saturday is National Tailgating Day in America, just in time for the 2016 football season!
The holiday of sorts, which celebrates the time-honored custom of gathering outside a stadium before the big game to drink, eat and celebrate with fellow sports fans falls smack dab in the middle of the first weekend of college football this year — some of the first games of the NCAA football season kick off Friday.
While tailgating is not exclusive to any one sport, no fans tailgate like football fans and college football fans take things to another level. Here are 5 of the most unique tailgate experiences in college football:
1. Ole Miss
Ole Miss, the nickname for the University of Mississippi, is the crown jewel of tailgating. Centered on "The Grove," a ten-acre lawn lined with oak, elm, and magnolia trees, Ole Miss fans dress up for games like they are headed to fancy dinner party. Sporting jackets and ties and dresses, fans drink bourbon and eat classic Southern tailgate fare off of fancy china dinnerware.
What makes tailgating at a Louisiana State University game so memorable? Aside from the legions of infamously rowdy Tigers fans, it is the food! While you can still find the standard barbeque that you can get at just about any tailgate, only at an LSU tailgate can you chow down on Cajun and Creole cuisines with tens of thousands of your friends. LSU fans are known to be intimidating, though, so be sure to wear purple and gold.
The University of Washington's Husky Stadium is situated right next to Lake Washington. That means fans with access to a boat can pull right up to shore and tailgate on the water. "Sail-gating" makes Washington a tailgating scene like no other, as hundreds of boats carrying thousands of fans across the lake every game day.
4. Penn State
Penn State University's tailgating is something to behold if only for its sheer size. State College, which becomes one of the most populous cities in Pennsylvania on game days, plays host to one of the biggest parties in college football. Well over 100,000 people can pack into Beaver Stadium, which adds up to a whole lot of cars parked in the lots and fields surrounding the stadium.
Georgia, which rents out just about every square inch of its beautiful Athens campus for tailgaters, and Florida, one of the most successful football schools of the past decade, both qualify as marquee tailgating destinations in their own right. But once a year, when the two schools meet, the fanbases combine in Jacksonville, Florida, for a tailgating spectacle that has come to be affectionately known as "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party."