Tips, traditions and advice from a Georgia insider on the best ways to tailgate at a Bulldogs game this college football season.
Rebecca Burns, publisher of the Red and Black, the independent student paper at Georgia, stressed the classiness of Georgia tailgating and its commitment to history.
Where should I park and when should I arrive? It gets very crowded, so get to Athens early or maybe even the day before and give yourself lots of time to park—it can be tricky to figure it out as you approach from the freeway. There are free places around town, and private businesses rent out parking spots. There are tailgating zones on campus, and there are deeded lots that are passed down through generations that can cost up to $15,000. If you park on the outskirts of campus, there are shuttles to bring you to the stadium. It’s best to figure out where you want to park in advance: The Red & Black’s tailgating guide has very detailed information on parking, as does the UGA website. Businesses around campus will let you tailgate there, and you can even rent out space from the student newspaper.
What is the best thing to eat? Lots of people eat barbecue, pick up from places in Athens (Pulaski Heights, Dawg Gone Good), and some people smoke food themselves.
What are the must-see sights and traditions at a Bulldogs tailgate? I definitely would go to north campus, which is the oldest part. Visit the famous Georgia Arch (Students don’t walk under because of superstition but visitors are welcome!) Old-school tailgating happens near historic buildings on the quad on north campus. Many of the individual colleges have individual tailgates down Sanford Drive, while Myers Quad has the most students and activities. Another unique-to-Georgia event is the Dawg Walk—the team arrives early in the heart of campus and players will walk through the crowd to the stadium.
What should I bring? Coming as a guest we wouldn’t ask you to bring anything because southern hospitality is alive and well, but if you wanted to pick up food for a tailgate, lots of restaurants do tailgating packages such as Dawg Gone, Weaver D’s Fried Chicken. Pimento Cheese is also really popular at tailgates.
How should I dress? Red and black, but think fancy. People get dressed up! In the fall, when it’s cooler, people will often wear bowties. Style is definitely a factor. Men should wear khakis and a nice polo shirt. If it’s very hot, shorts are fine. Some people wear pants with a bulldog embroidered on them. For women: Sundresses, or very nice tops with jeans.
What is the most important tip you can give? You should definitely know that people party very hard. Pace yourself. You can have containers around campus but not in the stadium. In the stadium, you can only buy water or soft drinks, and you want cash for that because it gets really hot. Bring a hat or a fan, and hydrate.
What separates Georgia tailgating from other college football tailgates? An amazing spirit and attitude. Everybody says that, but it’s very friendly and warm. That hospitality sets us apart. And you can meet the most adorable mascot in all of college football. At Georgia, the tailgating is taken very seriously, it’s “a lot classier” than other parts of the country. History is very important as well.