Whether it’s your first time in the Grove or your last football game as a senior, use these tips as a refresher course on how to survive and thrive at the greatest tailgate in the country.
Tip 1: Don’t sacrifice comfort when dressing to impress
Wearing your “Sunday best” is an unsaid expectation when visiting the Grove on game day. If you’re an out-of-towner like me, it might seem a little odd to put on a dress and heels to watch football, but once you’ve done it enough, it’s hard to imagine wearing anything else. Though looking cute is important, it’s also important to be comfortable. It’s easy to forget how much standing and walking you do in the Grove, so if you think heels are going to be too uncomfortable, replace them with a pair of flats or casual sneakers. I usually keep a designated pair of flats that I wear to the Grove because I know they’re comfortable, they’ll stay on my feet and they match both red and blue.
Tip 2: Hydrate!
Never underestimate Mississippi heat. I say this only because I’ve done it plenty of times. The Grove is a popular place, and large crowds combined with Southern heat is a sure way to get dehydrated. Whether you’re boozing or taking it easy, it’s incredibly important to eat and hydrate before you get there, especially if you don’t belong to a tailgate, which typically have water and plenty of food and shade.
Tip 3: Go out with a group
The Grove is a great place to meet new people, but going out with a group of friends can be even more fun. It’s important to establish a meeting spot, such as by the Grove stage or at your favorite tailgate’s tent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten separated from my group and didn’t have good enough reception to call them. If you do get separated, don’t freak out. Sometimes, solo adventures in the Grove result in meeting all kinds of people you wouldn’t typically get the chance to meet.
Tip 4: Catch the Walk of Champions
There is nothing that will get you more hype for a football game than attending the Walk of Champions, especially if you’ve never seen it before. For a short amount of time, the chaos in the Grove stops and all the fans turn their attention to cheering on the football team, band, cheerleaders and more as they head to the field. The Walk of Champions brings together athletes, fans, Oxonians and out-of-towners alike and reminds everyone that we are one big Ole Miss family at the end of the day. Try to get up front so you can get a couple high fives from your favorite players.
Tip 5: Participate in Rebel Run
This tip only applies to freshmen. One of my favorite memories from freshman year was doing the Rebel Run with my new friends, so sign up early and don’t think you’re too cool for this fun-filled dash across the football field. I remember being in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, seeing everyone cheering us on and thinking in that moment that I had made the right choice when deciding to attend Ole Miss. You’re only a freshman once, and the year flies by way faster than you would think. If you go out of your way to do exclusively freshman activities, you might meet your best friend and have more memories to laugh about as you approach your senior year.
Tip 6: Have fun!
Everyone has different definitions of fun – drinking like a fish, getting to Vaught two hours early, or taking on the Square before, during or after the game. But regardless of what you find fun, the Grove is always a gateway to a good time.