A Southern game day can mostly be summed up into one iconic tradition called tailgating. For those who don’t know, tailgating technically means a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. In the south, the tradition has grown into so much more than that. College students, alumni and team fans gather together to “tailgate” and celebrate their team before the big game. Tailgating is now the term used for all things that happen pre-game including eating in tents full of food, cooking on pickup trucks hauling grills, and of course, wearing your game day outfits! At Ann + Reeves, we love celebrating and getting all decked out for whatever special day is on the calendar. In the spirit of fall game day, we’re here to share and explain some southern game day traditions that stand the test of time. We hope this post inspires you to celebrate game day with your family!
From pimento cheese to BBQ, hot dogs to hamburgers, the choice of food on game day is one of the most important parts of celebrating. In the south, lots of celebrating revolves around BBQ, but different regions like different types of meat, sauces and sides. Texans love mesquite-grilled beef brisket served with a spicy and tangy vinegar-based sauce. Georgians prefer pulled pork with a sweet tomato-based sauce. Sides range from coleslaw and potato salad to mac and cheese and collard greens. Depending on the region you’re celebrating in, you will find a variety of food, but there’s usually some form of BBQ involved in a game day celebration.
Most southern fans start celebrating game day early… as early as 6 AM. That means there’s a lot of time that can be spent lounging, catching up with fellow fans and playing games. The most iconic tailgating game is corn hole. You can purchase these games at many different retailers or you can build your own. Check out this DIY tutorial on how to build your own cornhole boards. Other games include flip cup, horseshoes, ring toss and jenga.
Getting All Decked Out
Game day in the south is also all about getting dressed up in your team’s colors! Sport your mascot and team colors in the form of earrings, shirts and dresses and, of course, smocked outfits for your little ones. Our Collegiate Collection features teams from all over the south and are the best way for your little one to represent their team!
Every team has a tradition that’s unique to them and it usually involves a long story or an old wives’ tale. Here are a few of our favorites:
- A&M’s tradition of men kissing their dates after each Aggies touchdown at Kyle Field
- Before UGA games, fans come to have their picture taken with the venerable Uga, the bulldog that sits on his throne on the Sanford Stadium sidelines
- The Tiger Walk at Auburn, which began in the 1960s, is a tradition where kids greet the team and get autographs before games
- Before games begin in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks perform the Calling the Hogs ritual with that familiar “Woo Pig Sooie”
- Besides the Sandstorm rally before kickoff, the shiny red South Carolina cockabooses (the word you get when combining Gamecocks and cabooses) sit on a rail line outside Williams-Brice Stadium
- Echoing through The Swamp on fall Saturdays is the cheer, Two Bits, that a retired insurance salesman named George Edmondson Jr. started in 1949
Sport your team's colors and dress your littles in the Ann + Reeves Collegiate Collection! While you’re celebrating and making fun family traditions, share your celebrations on Instagram and tag @annreeveskids and #annreevescelebrates so we can celebrate with you!