The Grove!

People had told us that the spectacle of an Ole Miss football game is unique, that there was nothing quite like tailgating in The Grove.  The Grove?  A bunch of trees?  I had so much to learn!  Is it still called tailgating when cars aren’t allowed in the area?

The Grove–a shady, park-like setting with a magnificent assortment of mature trees– is lovely enough to enchant any gardener.  It is situated in the middle of a campus so well designed that everything seems within walking distance for its just under 20,000 students.  The buildings are Southern classic and beautiful and the traditions deep.

The Lyceum, oldest building on campus, served as a hospital during the Civil War.
The Lyceum, oldest building on campus, served as a hospital during the Civil War.

The football players pass through The Grove on their way to the stadium on a brick walkway with arches at each end–the Walk of Champions.  The stadium holds over 60,000 and who knows how large the crowds are in The Grove.  Talk about a heady walk!IMG_0951

The Friday before the game, garbage cans were set out to mark spaces where hospitality tents could be set up, beginning at 9 PM.  During the day people hung around, marking their spots.IMG_0955The game was at noon and we went to the Grove on that overcast mid-morning, we found the area transformed into a sea of tents, chairs, people, and food.  Image 56What it wasn’t filled with was smoke.  No grills allowed and in fact, no smoking.  That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t food.

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IMG_1113The game that day was a rivalry between the Ole Miss Rebels and University of Arkansas* Razorbacks, also known as The Hogs, so folks went whole hog with their food.  Hams galore!

Not that food was all they brought.  Some tents were quite elaborate, sporting generators, chandeliers, large flat-screen TVs, comfortable chairs, and satellite dishes.  One tent sported a replica of the Lyceum, with each of its columns holding a different beverage.

Just as there were plain tents and fancy tents, there were basic toilets as well as some with more panache, like the Hotty Toddy Potty, complete with attendants.

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Image 78

The Arkansas fans partied, too.

As for me and my house, we will call the Hogs.
As for me and my house, we will call the Hogs.

Elvis was there–in several shapes and sizes–raising money for St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  They call themselves “The Elvi.”

Image 26 Who was he pulling for? Image 29

The cheerleaders were in The Grove.IMG_1095IMG_1096And the band was in The Groove.IMG_1097You’re probably wondering did we EVER get to the game.  I’ll have to save that for the next post.  It was THE ELVI in all their glory, for goodness’ sakes!  Show some respect! 

Are you there, Elvis, it's me, Mary!
Are you there, Elvis?  It’s me, Merrily!

*BIG OOPS on original post.  My brain said Arkansas, but my fingers didn’t listen.  Sorry, Arkansas!

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7 thoughts on “The Grove!

  1. Arkansas Patti

    Lucky me I came after the correction. That you can call the hogs makes you special. “Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie” Been a hard year to be a hog.
    Can’t imagine a tail gate however with out grills.
    Loved the pic of you two with 3 Elvi and the Colonel.

    1. I did not use the Hotty Toddy Potty, but used one in the stadium… where I made a faux pas. The bathroom was near our seats — I had only to go down the ramp, turn right, and the first door right there was marked Women. I went in and all the stalls were full, but there was no line. Someone came out of a stall… I went in… emptied my bladder… washed my hands and was going back out when an attendant (I hadn’t noticed her before) stopped someone coming in the same door I had and said, “This is the exit door. The line is through that door over there.” OOPS! I quickly fled the scene. Maybe she didn’t stop me because I looked desperate…?

      Ate only a few peanuts and a handful of popcorn. It was the $8 bottomless Diet Coke that did me in.

  2. I thought they didn’t have “Colonel Reb” as their mascot any more. (The dude with cane in your pic with the Elvi.) I read where he’d been replaced with a bear in 2010 because of the connotations with the Confederacy and slavery. Beautiful campus, though. Bottomless Diet anything does me in every time.

  3. Wow–that is a different approach to tail-gating. For years, we went to Penn State games and things were quite fancy there–tents with champagne, table clothes etc. But we always did it simple–a picnic table, a small butane cooker, a frying pan, bacon, scrambled eggs, etc. Nothing better. But the Grove does look entrancing.
    I could do without the Elvi, however. But that’s just me–I was always a Ricky Nelson fan. Seriously.

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