Tailgating returns

Kali Price

Pregame festivities help to attract fans

From left: Senior accounting major Justin Reinard, junior marketing major A.J. Outman and senior exercise science major Ryan Jaworski get pumped up for the game during tailgating yesterday. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

For the first time, a Kent State football game was “the biggest deal in five counties,” thanks to tailgating, said Laing Kennedy, Kent State athletic director.

“I think it’s phenomenal,” Kennedy said.

The Kent State Department of Athletics started new pregame festivities outside Dix Stadium, kicking off at yesterday’s home opener against Minnesota.

Hundreds of fans and Kent State students gathered for the activities.

“So far, I think this is awesome,” said Ross Miltner, Undergraduate Student Senate executive director. “We’ve got a lot of Minnesota fans here too.”

Fans enjoyed children’s games, such as a mechanical bull and a touchdown toss, food from several different downtown restaurants and live music by the Akron-based Buffalo Rose Band.

“The turnout is great,” said Elizabeth Eisaman, president of College Republicans. “I really think we’re going to have a great turnout.”

Several student groups, such as Kent Interhall Council, the All-Campus Programming Board, Hillel, the College Democrats and the College Republicans, hosted tables to try to recruit members.

“We’re here trying to get new memberships,” said Alexis Mundis, political director for the College Democrats.

Mike Levinstein, assistant director of Hillel, said he thought it was important that the student organizations were out at the stadium supporting the football team and Kent State.

Members of USS were around as well, sponsoring a cornhole tournament.

“I’m very excited,” Miltner said. “I’m glad Student Senate can be a part of this.”

Tailgating has not been allowed at Kent State football games before and is now part of a push to bring up attendance at the games.

“I think that in the long run, (getting students to the games is) more important than winning these games,” Miltner said. “Hopefully winning games will follow at some point.”

Contact student politics reporter Kali Price at [email protected].