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(Tailgate Guys/Facebook)

Ready to make up for lost time, Auburn Tigers football fans?

Jordan-Hare Stadium is back this season to its full capacity of 87,451. And tailgating resumes after a one-year quarantine.

The home season kicks off Saturday, September 4, against the University of Akron in a game set for 6 p.m. That’s prime time for tailgating, an afternoon to catch up with old friends over food, wander around checking out the spectacle, and generally make merry.

Auburn University has a reputation as being especially tailgate friendly. The campus is accommodating, some parking is free, and with Auburn’s downtown restaurants, bars, and shops just blocks from Jordan-Hare the party spills out onto the streets.

It’s so much fun, the university estimates that 30 percent of tailgaters never enter the stadium, instead watching the game—or not—on a satellite television at their favorite tailgate tent.

A great tailgate needs great food and drink. If you’re new to the game, here are some tips for Auburn home-game happiness:

  • Pick up food at one of the nearby downtown restaurants. Some, like Lucy’s, offer tailgating packages. Barbecue is a natural choice for pick-up tailgate eats, and Auburn has several options including Jim ’N Nick’s, Moe’s, Bow and Arrow, and Rob’s Ribs.
  • If you can find a spot, dine in at one of the restaurants or bars downtown. Choices include Toomer’s Drugs, Auburn Draft House, The Hound, and numerous fast-food and fast-casual chains.
  • Retain a turnkey tailgate service like Tailgate Guys. They set up and provide tables, plates/cups/napkins, and with most packages, coolers with ice. Catering from select restaurants also is available through Tailgate Guys. Check out the Guys’ website for menus.
  • If you want catered or to-go food, reserve it early. Cutoff for ordering via Tailgate Guys is 3 p.m. Alabama time on the Tuesday before the game. That deadline is a good rule of thumb to follow when ordering directly from a restaurant.
  • Check out one of the university’s tailgates. Both the Auburn Hospitality Tailgate and the Tiger Walk Club have food and cash bars (televisions, too). The former, however, requires registration and the latter is for members only.
  • Cook your own spread.

It’s fun to make a themed menu around “eating” the opponent—hot dogs for Georgia and Mississippi, gator tail or sausage when Florida visits. But this year’s opening opponent is the Akron Zips; bringing your food in Ziploc resealable bags is probably as on-theme as you can get. 

(Tailgate Guys/Facebook)

Theme foods don’t get much easier in the next few home games, against Alabama State (the Hornets) on September 11 and an early Homecoming game against Georgia State (the Panthers) on September 25.

Keep the menu simple and prep everything at home before heading to campus. Remember, not everyone eats the same thing so variety is key. Cook a little extra food because extra eaters are likely.

If you plan to cook at your tailgate, remember that grills are not allowed within 50 feet of any building, fires must be doused with water before leaving, and coals must be disposed in a designated place. Tailgating tips from the university can be found here.

Also, keep food safety in mind. Coolers and ice are a must. Don’t serve cooked food that’s been sitting out more than two hours.

Tradition runs deep at Auburn. The Tiger Walk—when the players, coaches, staff and the famous mascot, Aubie, move en masse to the stadium—takes place two hours before the game. You’ll need to time your tailgate accordingly.

Auburn’s war eagle soars through the stadium 25 minutes before kickoff. You want to be in your seat by then so plan for a good hour or more to clean up around your tailgate, get into the stadium, and settle into your seat.

Stocking plenty of toilet paper rolls in your vehicle is optional but advised. After all, Toomer’s Corner doesn’t roll itself following home victories.

For more information:

Accommodations for Gameday at Auburn University (aotourism.com)

Auburn Athletics Announces Full Capacity and Tailgating for 2021 Football Season – Auburn University Athletics (auburntigers.com)

Tips for tailgaters (auburn.edu)

Tailgater Guide: Auburn University – Tailgater Concierge