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 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!
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.The 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. What it wasn’t filled with was smoke. No grills allowed and in fact, no smoking. That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t food.
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.
The Arkansas fans partied, too.
Elvis was there–in several shapes and sizes–raising money for St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital. They call themselves “The Elvi.”
The cheerleaders were in The Grove.And the band was in The Groove.You’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!
*BIG OOPS on original post. My brain said Arkansas, but my fingers didn’t listen. Sorry, Arkansas!