The elaborate art of tailgate navigation

Although this year’s Homecoming lacked the same Eph fanaticism and overall excitement of last year’s “ESPN’s College GameDay,” Saturday’s festivities were far from lackluster. Weston Field was packed with purple and gold hoards of eager students and alumni gathering together at tailgates. The smoky aroma of grilled burgers combined with the excited chatter of Ephs helped give every tailgate its own unique, energetic flavor. The best part of this year’s Homecoming was definitely the food, and the assortment of tailgates definitely gave culinary fans a taste of a classic football feast.

Some of this year’s Homecoming fans navigated the maze of tailgates with characteristic cunning. After all, tailgating is an art form. “Tailgating is like training to be a burglar,” Zoe Jenkins ’12 said. “You are going to have to know which food to take and how to take it.”

The Hospitality tailgate, a simple but charming stop, was the perfect place to begin a tailgating journey. Devoted fans were treated to hot apple cider and hot chocolate – the perfect way to warm up after a long, chilly walk down Spring Street. The hot soft pretzels were slightly over-salted, but nonetheless provided a welcome treat, especially when dipped in honey mustard sauce.

The neighborhood tailgates were as popular as ever, especially the one hosted by Spencer. Fried chicken was definitely a fan favorite, but the mini cheesecakes were simply divine and were virtually melt-in-your-mouth. The lines of mini chocolate-covered and caramel apples were also an adorable treat. The Dodd tailgate supplied some of the best hamburgers of the bunch, a worthy feat among other commendable contestants.

The America First tailgate, decked out with John McCain and Barack Obama cutouts, was a hard-to-miss landmark in the tailgating mayhem. Although the majority of the food was nothing above spectacular, the tailgate did offer one of the best guacamoles of the day. The Young Alumni tailgate was definitely the most sophisticated, with fruit and plastic silverware.

Yet again, the AASiA tailgate dominated this culinary journey. Along with the classic crowd favorites of Korean barbeque, dumplings and kimchee, the AASiA tailgate also added a unique ethnic flavor to the traditional American experience. “Whenever we put out the Korean barbeque, a huge line forms,” said Nancy Wang ’12. “Tailgating is more about my ethnicity. It’s a good time to get awareness out there. It makes people aware of all the cultures and ethnicities at Williams.”

The crowd seemed torn on whether to concentrate on the football game or to cruise the tailgate scene. “This year’s Homecoming was overall better than last year’s,” Kyle Victor ’10 said, adding that “tailgating is much more fun than the game.”
With beautiful weather, good food, great friends and family and yet another victory on the football field, this year’s Homecoming was definitely a success.