Tailgate parties conjure up images of football fans gathering near stadiums, camped out for the pre-game hours and into the game to celebrate their alma mater or favorite team. The tailgate party may be as American as applie pie, bringing college friends together for weekend reunions or regular reconnections. Clubs and teams may also gather to root for their team and toast the season.
The New York Times recently reported on the University of Mississippi (aka Ole Miss) tailgate party as the pinnacle of such events. The article portrays this as more than a normal tailgate party, one of history, where the cars have been replaced with tents, and it is thee social event in Oxford, Mississippi, not just for the students or alumni, but for the whole town.
Here's an excerpt from William L. Hamilton's New York Times piece to give you a sense of the event:
"Ole Miss's stadium accommodates 60,580 people, and devotees of the Grove argue that the Grove accommodates more. It is every kind of party you can describe, at once: cocktail party, dinner party, tailgate picnic party, fraternity and sorority rush, family reunion, political handgrab, gala and networking party-hearty — what might have inspired Willie Morris, one of Mississippi's favorite sons, to declare Mississippi not a state, but a club.
The party is technically a picnic. Originally an informal tailgating get-together when most serious pregame socializing took place at Ole Miss's fraternity and sorority houses, by the 50’s the Grove started to become its own pregame tradition.
Cars have been kept out since a rainstorm in 1990 that reduced the Grove to a rutted swamp, and tents replaced them. The Grove Society, an alumni organization, posts a strict schedule for the event, which dictates that set-up will start at Friday midnight.
The Grove is a grove of generations of Mississippi families who went to Ole Miss and who send their children there. Alumni and students, fathers and sons, old friends and new acquaintances, seemed inseparable last Saturday, as if they had walked out of the halls ringing the Grove and were meeting between classes, not between decades."
Does anyone know of an equally enticing tailgate party?
Source: New York Times