All throughout campus and University Avenue, crowds line the streets decked out in orange and blue during Gator home games.
Saturday games in the swamp bring thousands of fans to Gainesville. Before electrifying the stadium with 90,000 people, students, alumni and fans tailgate to bring energy to their team.
Whether on-campus by Fraternity Row and the stadium or off-campus at nearby bars, students and alumni have many options for tailgate parties.
Right across the street from the stadium is the popular nightlife district Midtown. Hot spots like The Social at Midtown open early during game days so fans can party before heading over for kick-off.
Carty Murphy, a 22-year-old UF statistics graduate and The Social at Midtown employee, said the sports bar fills up every game day.
“Before we even open we’ve got a line going out the door, and that’s the vibe for the rest of the day,” Murphy said. “We pack in as many people as we’re allowed.”
The Social has both an inside bar and a rooftop bar. On game days, the inside bar opens at noon for afternoon and evening games, and the rooftop opens an hour or two later, Murphy said.
While students often make up the majority of the crowd at The Social, Murphy noticed parents have been joining in on the fun.
“It’s a good family place,” he said. “A lot of parents come in, and it’s a good place to watch the games throughout the day.”
The bar has TVs on both floors, so patrons can enjoy other college games before and after the Gators play.
During away games, The Social partners with the entertainment company Top Tier to host watch parties.
“During the UF game we’ll play the sound that goes with the game, and then during the commercials, the DJ will play music,” Murphy said.
Many alumni and businesses choose to tailgate near the stadium by Gator Walk, Reitz Union and gate seven. The company REVELxp coordinates the tent set-ups and offers multiple packages for fans to enjoy.
Derek Bock, one of the account executives for REVELxp, coordinates bookings for tailgates. The full-service tailgate experience requires the company to begin its game day set-up during the week.
“We’ll get out there, map it out and make sure we know what’s going where near the end of Thursday and we’ll actually start putting up the tents,” Bock said. “Friday we’ll come out there and put up any TVs or set out the tables.”
REVELxp sees the most business during the homecoming game, parents weekend game and military appreciation game, Bock said.
Surleen Sahni, an 18-year-old UF biology freshman, prefers to spend her game day tailgating around Fraternity Row.
“My routine is I get ready with all my friends and we meet up at Hume,” Sahni said. “And then we create an itinerary. We just go around tailgating and then we try to grab some food.”
Sahni enjoys dressing up for the games and following the fan color themes each week.
“I try to follow the theme as much as I can. I always have beads going or I have a bandana,” Sahni said. “I try to incorporate some orange and blue into my eyes — makeup-wise.”
Around Fraternity Row, she enjoys going to Lambda Chi to grab slushies and Chi Phi for their chicken nuggets, Sahni said.
After tailgating Sahni walks over to the stadium and joins her friends in the student section.
“Being a part of the student section makes you feel so alive,” Sahni said. “Even if I’m so tired, the urge to stay is so strong because of the excitement and energy.”
Contact Megan Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meganmhxward.
Megan Howard is a second-year journalism major and the K-12 Education reporter for The Alligator. When she's not writing, you can find her rewatching the Eras Tour movie or reading The Hunger Games series.