Photo courtesy of Katie Dickens
Photo courtesy of Katie Dickens

How to tailgate the Wake Forest way

The beauty of football season is that it brings every Demon Deacon together to cheer on one team. Thousands of fans all in the same place for the same reason can be quite exhilarating, yet for a first-timer, the excitement of tailgating and the first home game can be a bit of a whirlwind if you’re not prepared. In order to help you have a game plan for game day, here’s a list of tips to help you be ready for your first tailgate.

Tailgate Equipment

If all else fails, make sure you have your student ID because it is your ticket into the game. No matter how hard you try to sweet talk the gatekeeper, they will not let you in without it.  It’s also nice to have a small bag with a couple other things.

“If you don’t have a boyfriend to hold your stuff, then you’ll want a little purse,” said sophomore Bailey Jones. “I always like to have sunglasses, $10 to get a lemonade and a charged phone to call an Uber home because waiting for the bus is hard.”

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Don’t Be Late

Since Wake Forest’s stadium is a couple miles from campus, a shuttle system is provided to transport students to and from the game. The shuttles are air conditioned, but the long lines waiting for them in the hot sun can be uncomfortable.

“The shuttles can be a pain, so getting to them early definitely helps!” said senior Jess Arnall. “Normally, I try to leave campus around two hours before the game starts so I have a good amount of time to get to the stadium and go to a few different tents at the tailgate.”

Pre-Game Meal and Hydration

It is essential to eat a good meal and drink lots of water before you head to the tailgate. The last thing you want at a tailgate is a growling stomach or splitting headache. Sometimes different tents will have food at the tailgate, but often times most of the food will be devoured as soon as it is put out — so don’t count on that as your only meal. As soon as you wake up on game day, make it your routine to drink a couple glasses of water. Most students wake up and Pit Sit with their friends so that they can keep full throughout the tailgate. You will probably be drinking the rest of the day, so starting the day off right will help ensure you survive the long day.

Dress for Success

Although you can always add your own flare to any outfit, most Wake Forest students like to dress up on game day.

“My advice is to stock up on black sundresses and comfy sandals before tailgating season,” said sophomore Laurel Hagaman.

Most girls tend to stick to a stylish sundress with cowboy boots or sandals. If you’re worried about wearing a dress while drinking, you can always opt for a cute romper. Most boys prefer a polo or button down with khakis and possibly a bowtie.

“The tailgate area can get pretty muddy, so you might want to wear some shoes you don’t mind getting dirty,” said junior Charles Wilson. “Also, the student section is directly in the sun, so make sure not to forget your sunglasses.”

Along with fashion, always check the weather before you pick your outfit for the tailgate. You don’t want to be sweating in long sleeves during these first games in September or shivering without a jacket in November.

“The first couple games can be really hot and sunny,” said Arnall. “Be sure to wear sunscreen so you don’t get weird sundress tan lines.”

Make Smart Choices

Most importantly, make sure to be aware of your surroundings during a tailgate —  especially if you have a red solo cup in your hand. It is best to avoid getting a drinking ticket your freshman year, so always leave your cup behind if you’re walking from tent to tent. Police officers as well as the Alcohol Law Enforcement (A.L.E.) often circle the tailgates looking for underage drinkers. Often times they can be dressed as students, so make sure you have yourself together and aren’t giving them a reason to approach you.

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