Friday, December 16, 2011

Ole Miss Tailgating 101: History of the Grove

The Grove is quite possibly the most recognized landmark of The University of Mississippi. It is a large 10 acre field in the middle of campus, beautifully landscaped with large oak trees. The Grove is a beautiful place for a picnic or spring-time outing, but during football season The Grove transforms into the ultimate tailgating party.
In the first few seasons of Rebel football, the Grove was used by sorority and fraternities on campus as an informal get-together. In the 1950's other fans caught on, and soon The Grove became part of the pre-game tradition. Today The Grove is no longer an "informal gathering." On the contrary, the true "Grovers" bring out all their formal wear, from silver platters on the tables to chandeliers hung in the tents. And let's not forget about the ladies of Ole Miss. The women also dress to the nines, with elegant sundresses and high heels that just make your feet hurt by looking at them. 
Fans in The Grove dine on delicious appetizers, and drink their "adult beverages" out of red solo cups. After everyone has indulged themselves, the football team walks along the honored Walk of Champions. The Walk stretches from the student union across The Grove. Fans line up to shake the hands of players and coaches, and wish them good luck in the game. After this event, fans walk to the stadium to enjoy the Ole Miss Rebels take on their opponent. However, most fans only make it through the first half of the game, and return to the Grove to "win the party" at halftime.  
The Grove has been ranked the number one tailgating spot in the country by ESPN and Sports Illustrated, and was named "Most Beautiful" by Newsweek. An Ole Miss Journalism Alum, Alex McDaniel, is now working for Parade Magazine in New York. she has written many articles on The Grove and Ole Miss traditions. You can find some of her work here.

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