Tailgating at Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia, located in the western corner of the state, is the home of the well known university, Virginia Tech, which accounts for the majority of the towns’ population at about 40,000 people. Blacksburg has a unique atmosphere since most of the residents happen to be Virginia Tech students, giving it a very close knit sense of community, and a common bond among the locals. Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the college is surrounded by mountains and lush greenery, meaning there are several rivers and trails nearby. But the main attraction is the football that occurs each fall in Lane Stadium, where the Hokies play. This stadium lost only to Louisiana State University’s Tiger Stadium on ESPN’s list of “Top 10 Scariest Places to Play”, making any Virginia Tech home game worth attending. Tailgating at Virginia Tech is a truly intense experience that all college football fans should be able to witness.
The one important thing about Virginia Tech football is that if you are a student at the school, you are mostly likely planning on attending the game. Virginia Tech fans tend to be some of the most dedicated fans in college football, and it seems as if literally everyone goes to the games. Tailgating is done to perfection in Blacksburg. It is usually an all day event, depending on when the game is, and takes plenty of preparation. Students arrive, believe it or not, as early as 8:00am to claim their tailgating spots. Many people will bring small camper’s stoves or grills to cook pancakes and breakfast in the morning or burgers for later in the afternoon. Expect to see the long time college tradition of beer pong taking place throughout the parking lot, among the sea of people in maroon and orange, the university’s colors. During the Maroon effect, the fans will were only maroon, and orange on days when the Orange effect takes place.
In the spirit of the football season, plenty of drinking takes place at a Virginia Tech tailgate, as it does with most colleges. “Gin buckets” are a staple of the average Tech tailgater. These are large buckets filled with several handles of Gin mixed with Mountain Dew. The students have even invented a unique way to drink from these “Gin buckets”. My brother graduated a few years ago from Virginia Tech. On one of the home game days, he was walking back from class while people were tailgating in the parking lot. As he passed a group, they offered him a shot, out of pure sympathy for the fact that he had been in class. For those who do not know, the Hokie’s mascot is a turkey, and the group that offered him a shot where taking them by dipping a turkey baster into a “Gin bucket”, and then proceeding to squeeze the entire contents into their mouths.
This is a perfect example of the type of fun one will have at Virginia Tech game. Everyone is able to come together through the common connection of loving Virginia Tech and the Hokies, and celebrating by tailgating at every home game. There is no exclusivity, and all types of students take part in this event, which is obvious by the fact that no matter whom you are, someone will very likely offer you a shot from a turkey baster. After several hours of eating, drinking, and playing beer pong with friends, the crowds will lead into Lane Stadium chanting “Lets go, Hokies”, to hear Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” as the Virginia Tech football team enters the field. Expect many hyped up Virginia Tech students to follow the lead of the Marching Virginians band and the Hokie bird mascot in doing the Hokie Pokie in the middle of the stands in Lane Stadium.
Places to Eat:
While in Blacksburg it is easy to find affordable restaurants, because it is mostly a college town. Big Al’s Grille and Sports Bar is the best place to visit for hot wings and beer, but do not count on getting happy hour prices on Hokie game days. The Hokie House, also located on North Main Street, is another favorite restaurant and bar, with pool tables, air hockey, and shuffleboard. Along Main Street, above the campus, there are numerous restaurants, shops, and Virginia Tech bookstores full of maroon and orange Hokie apparel and tailgating supplies.
Where to Stay:
Besides the couch at your buddies apartment, there are a few places to stay that are close to the Virginia Tech campus. The Inn at Virginia Tech is located directly on campus, but finding a room may be difficult even when making reservations far in advance because of its convenient location. However, there are many other options including the Courtyard Marriott, Hawthorn Suites, Holiday Inn, and Comfort Inn. For the most inexpensive rates, there is also a Red Carpet Inn and Days Inn nearby. All of these hotels surround the perimeter of the campus and are only a short drive away.
Anyone visiting Virginia Tech for the tailgating and football experience will not likely be disappointed by the enthusiasm and Hokie spirit of the students and fans in Blacksburg. The atmosphere at this school is unparalleled because the unity and support among the students and alumni. Football season is what many of them look forward to all year, when tailgating begins again. Even visitors will take the contagious pride and excitement in the air while walking through the campus’s quad, surrounded by buildings made of the famous gray colored “Hokie stones”.
By Carrie McCloud