The rivalry among teams in the Triangle might be bigger than any place else in the Country. I know it’s not the SEC but it still something to experience. You are either part of the Wolfpack, a Tarheel, or a Blue Devil and there is no grey area. We drip with school pride and find it difficult to have anything nice to say about the other teams. I personally went to one of these great colleges, so I find it difficult trying to write with an unbiased opinion but ill do my best. I have tailgated all around the Country, and trust me when I say it doesn’t get any better than North Carolina. Whatever team you love, you can find everything possible with your team’s logo on it for game day.
Forget arriving an hour or two before the game starts. The lots open hours before kick-off and you are expected to be prompt. Even at a noon game you will see everyone ready to go at 7am! In the South tailgating is done right. From everything to RVs, tents, pig roasts, and satellite hookups we have it all. Southern tailgates comprise everything from well dressed fans, good food, alcohol, and games. It is not uncommon to see a tear from a fan’s eye as the team runs out of the tunnel.
While there will always be the typical hamburgers, hot dogs, and beer the South steps up the food at a tailgate. Every fraternity you walk by will be roasting a pig. Families make all types of finger foods and dips and fruity spiked drinks. The best part of many colleges around here, is you can leave at half time and then go back in. A rush of people make their way back to tailgates to eat up at half time. So many have team themed desserts and even some Moonshine. If you aren’t into all that, you can go to Bojangles for about an hour to pick up their tailgate specials!
You won’t be seeing the typical jeans and team jersey at tailgates around the Triangle. Here in the South you dress to impress, and are never caught it something other the your school’s colors. Girls wear cowboy boots and sundresses. With hair, make up, and jewelry all done up. For boys its all about a team T Shirts or button up and a bow tie! Highly recommended come team colored shorts or seer-suckered pants. This style of dress seems ridiculous to outsiders but is a staple in Southern culture. Today, there are websites dedicated to finding the perfect game day outfit, I would know I am on these sites religiously before the season starts.
Duke Blue Devils
Most lots at Duke open at 6am on game day! This is crazy! It provides for the full day of tailgating! Much like UNC, Duke football does not bring in the fan base as Duke basketball but it is still fun and students have a great time, many dressing up in crazy costumes.
UNC Tar Heels
Chapel Hill is one of the most beautiful campus’s in the Country, tailgating here is a tradition. However, besides the Bell Tower lot it is very difficult to find parking and a spot to tailgate. Come early! Many fans chose to tailgate at a bar on Franklin Street before heading to Kenan Stadium right on campus. Though football doesn’t have as much as a fan base as their basketball team, UNC still has a great time.
The NC State Wolfpack
The NC State Wolfpack has a definite advantage when it comes to tailgating since Carter-Finley Stadium is located off campus next to the NC State Fairgrounds and the PNC Arena. There is plenty of space to spread out and tons of lots for families, students, etc. At State, fans can’t tailgate til 5 hours before kick off. You better believe people are there hours before standing in spots to make sure they are in prime location. By game time, Carter- Finley is PACKED with true fans yelling and screaming. The best part of a Wolfpack win is the bell tower on campus lights up red!
Whatever school in the Triangle you heart belongs to, college game day is the place to be on Saturday’s. Schedules can be found on all the college athletic websites as well as where to purchase tickets. Many tickets can be found cheap a day or two before the game on Craiglist or Stubhub. Even if you don’t have a ticket, come enjoy college football in the South at a tailgate!