Southern Living agreed, and sent The Daily South writers, Katie Phillips & Stephanie Granada, to the Ole Miss campus for the first football game of the 2012 season. With accompanying pictures by Robbie Caponetto, this wonderful trio captured how refined our Rebel fans are when it comes to celebrating game days in the Grove.
In the pre-dawn hours cars are lining up, tents are being errected, and signs are hung from various sorority and fraternity houses. Visitors and college students alike are awake and buzzing with the energy surrounding the day. And when Saturday fully dawns, all of that cheer soars miles above the crystal chandeliers adorning the tents.
Drinking does start pretty early, but as expected, it's done with flair. Champagne flows freely into fine crystal, Bloody Mary's are passed around by the pitcher (silver, of course), and beer fills either red or blue solo cups. There are plenty of chips and dips, fruit plates, and salads to enjoy throughout the day, but cupcakes, crudite, and mini sliders are the best handheld treats as larger meals of bar-b-que and steaks are prepared.
If the colorful sea of red & blue doesn't catch your attention, the scent of the delicious food will! But what captures your heart is even more impressive. Southern hospitality and warm welcomes are extended to everyone far and wide. No matter the school, no matter the fans, all are invited into the tents in the Grove. There are no "my school, your school" tailgating areas. Everyone is welcomed to partake in the festivities together and sit a spell.
It doesn't always happen, but we do our best to roll out the welcome mat to our guests. Where we finally come together before the game, however, is in that great moment as the Ole Miss Rebels enter the Grove through the Walk of Champions. Greeting everyone with smiles and waves, the Rebelettes cheer our boys on as they begin their walk to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Ole Miss Band brings tears to the eyes of everyone present as their music swells to incredible heights. It's going to sound extremely cheesy, but in that moment, there is so much love for our school present, it's no wonder that win or loose, we all end the night as happy as when the day began.
So Hotty Toddy all and enjoy your football weekend!
And a big congratulations to Emily Holly! My little guy drew her name out of a bowl and she has won Southern Living's SEC Tailgating Cookbook! Emily, I'll be in touch to get your address. HOTTY TODDY!!!