Tips, traditions and advice from an Ohio State insider on the best way to tailgate at a Buckeyes game this college football season.
Wear scarlet and grey and eat buckeyes. Butch Moore, President of the Buckeye Boosters Organization, gives his advice for a Columbus tailgate.
What’s the best way to get to the stadium? Because the University is so big there are plenty of ways to drive in and find a parking area, but the walk definitely needs to be the path the team takes to the stadium. You walk through the Jesse Owens Plaza and right underneath the huge Rotunda at the closed end of the stadium. Once you walk inside the entire stadium is in front of you.
Where should you park if driving? If you have a pass we prefer the WEST Stadium parking lot. You have a spectacular view of the stadium, you are on the (as Keith Jackson used to always welcome the TV crowd), “The banks of the Olentangy” and if it’s a night game the stadium lights make it look amazing.
How early before kickoff should you get there? While some wait in line at 5A, you definitely want to be there 3-4 hours before most games and before a BIG game you need to be there all day—we say Ohio State football and Ohio State tailgating is an “event” and it’s an all day event.
What should you bring? If you come to our tailgate, nothing! We supply everything right down to the porta john! Catered trays of food items to people grilling out can be seen everywhere but the final item should always be BUCKEYES (Peanut Butter dipped in chocolate that actually look like a real Buckeye) for dessert-—think Reese’s Cups.
What’s the tailgating culture like at Ohio State? Inclusive. We have literally been tailgating in the exact same spot, with the exact same families, for more than 25 years. If you forget a wine opener, or need extra ice everyone knows everybody so you just borrow from a friend. And we love when fans from the visiting team (yes, even Mi##igan) stop by.
How should you dress? Scarlet & Grey. Unlike some traditions in the south, we don’t really dress up in jackets or dresses. It’s shorts and shirts early in the year and of course in November you need to dress and stay warm.
What traditions set the school apart? There are many but for first timers there are a few you shouldn’t miss: The SKULL SESSION—where the band marches from the stadium to St John Arena and puts on a concert to get everyone fired up. The team arrives during the concert and the place goes crazy. While there is no cost, finding a seat is next to impossible. The band is HUGE at Ohio State. The players leave the ‘skull session” and walk through a tunnel of fans to the stadium. Once the concert is over make sure you are in your seat early as the Band performs their entrance to the field from the closed end-—it gives you chills. And of course there is NO greater tradition than “Script Ohio”!
What’s the number one reason for college football fans to make tailgating at Ohio State a bucket-list item? It’s a tough ticket so while 100,000 people attend the game, most estimate that there are MORE than that number who never go in! People watch the game on TVs and just continue to party. We have a general rule at our tailgate—if OSU gets ahead by three touchdowns or more we are back open—and everyone who attends knows the rule. Unlike some stadiums that are partly built into the ground, Ohio Stadium is SO massive just the look of the structure and you realize something big is about to happen.