an orange effect in blacksburg…

Welcome to the third stop on the tailgating tour. On September 18th, I was in Blacksburg for Virginia Tech’s tailgate against ECU. This was my first time in Blacksburg for game day and I was very impressed with what I found.

The way tailgating is set up at Virginia Tech is through a series of parking lots. During the week these lots are used by students and faculty, but on game days the rules change.

There are 3 large public/student parking lots a little over a mile form the stadium, the rest of the lots are for contributors to the school and athletic department. Hence the name contributor lots. There is a complicated points system based on amount donated, years purchasing tickets, and some other factors that determine where your parking space is. This is not always true, but generally the closer you are to  the stadium the more you contribute. On Friday nights, if you are a student, you better have your car moved by 10pm form these contributor lots, otherwise you will be towed out of there. I talked to a few students who learned this the hard way.

Here is what the public/student lot looked like around 9am.

And here is what the same lot looked like around 10:30.

Students are allowed to leave their cars in these lots overnight if they have a student parking sticker. The prized spots are the ones right next to the grass. This allows for you to set up a tent or tables or whatever you choose. Here is what I discovered while in the student lots.

For this game it was the “Orange Effect” meaning everyone was wearing orange. The Beamer Ball shirt on the left was this years shirt. I would say 70% of all the people I saw had this shirt on. I was also able to find Orange effects from years past. For this game as long as you were wearing orange you were good..

Stick it in is an chant students do when they are in the redzone. I thought the Joker was very creative. Tyrod Taylor is the VT QB and apparently this guy’s homeboy.

This shirt just made me laugh…

In the student lot, I came across a very interesting game. Generally beer, nails, a log, and a hammer would sound like a recipe for disaster, but these students combined them all in an interesting game. To play “Liberate the Log” each player has a nail that is standing up in the log. The object is to hammer in other player’s nails with the goal to be the last nail standing. Sounds easy right?

Well, there is one more step. In order to take your swing at the nail, you first must flip the hammer in the air, catch it and with out readjusting your grip swing it down onto the nail. The key is in catching the bottom of the hammer and having a good grip when you make your swing.

Liberate the Log is by far the most interesting tailgating game I have seen yet. I wish I could make this up, but when I asked the students where they got the log they told me the stumpkin patch. Yes, it is a place with log stumps in it similar to a pumpkin patch.

Liberating the Log was the most unique game that I saw, but the most popular game I saw was cornhole. It might have a different name like bags or bean bag toss where you tailgate, but whatever the name is the goal is the same. Land your bean bag through the opposing team’s hole.

There was also beer pong and flip cup, but at every parking lot I visited there was at least one game of cornhole going on.

Yes that is what you think it is. A pickup bed lined with plastic and filled with water. A portable swimming pool! I was unable to find the owners, but a truck bed swimming pool was also a tailgating first.

VT students know how to tailgate in comfort, whether it be lazy boy recliners or

or a sofa, VT students proved that just because you are in a parking lot, there is no need to sacrifice comfort.

In the public/student lots I found a tailgate going on between every row of cars.

In Blacksburg, I actually found real tailgating on the tailgate of a truck! With Ole Miss being tents at the grove, and Wisconsin being mainly bars and house parties, this was the first time where I saw true tailgating.

As I was leaving the public/student lots to head towards the Lane Stadium I came across a car that was full of Hokie pride…

Matt has spent 4 years on this 2001 Pontiac Grand Am…

If you want to know more about the car, check out Matt’s website that has more pictures and explains the evolution of the car. Before heading to Blacksburg, I had someone email me about this car, so I was excited to find it!

After leaving the public/student lot, I headed down West Campus drive towards Lane Stadium.

Along West Campus Drive there are multiple parking lots that usually look like this on a normal day.

But on game day, the students are cleared out and the alumni contributors arrive to tailgate.

Once you get to the round about at the end of West Campus Drive, take a left and head towards what you see above.

I spent some time in Lot 1 and then headed past the stadium towards lot 2 and other tailgating lots.

On the other side of the stadium there are even more tailgates. I discovered that pretty much any parking lot within a mile of Lane Stadium will be hosting a tailgate on game day. Parking lots are the most popular tailgate spots, but they are not the only places.

My friend Kaleigh introduced me to a group that she tailgates with. This group of friends calls themselves The Valley Tribe of the Hokie Nation. They are a group of families, VT alums, and friends from all over Virginia.

They meet in a field right near the stadium and throw a pretty awesome party. Their awesome trailer shows up at every game complete with women’s restroom, TV, and plenty of chairs,tents, and tables.

They even have koozies! We definitely made a koozie trade.

Every game, the Valley Tribe has a different item on the menu. This week was Turkey thighs! The thigh meat is taken off the bone and formed into a delicious patty then grilled. It was pretty amazing! I  must send out a thank you to all the members of the Valley Tribe I had so much fun checking out your tailgate! Thank you so much for your hospitality!

And now what you have been waiting for, the food…

I began my tailgating coverage around 8:30am so breakfast was very common. Pancakes and country ham biscuits mmm. I was very impressed with the pancakes, cooking pancakes over charcoal is no easy task.

A grill is also great to toast bagels for a sausage,egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich.

Warming Queso on a grill? First time I have seen it done, but it works! I especially like the use of koozies as hot mitts.

Around lunch time, burgers and chicken were very common items to see on the grill.

These ribs were pretty delicious looking as well.

I was pretty excited when I stopped by this tailgate. Mmm Pulled Pork.

Perfect for a delicious BBQ sandwich.

Looks like I wasn’t the only one with their eyes set on the BBQ.

Sweet Potato fries? Yes those can be cooked on a grill as well.

Of all the food I encountered in Blacksburg, this was the most unique and tastiest.

Bacon wrapped corn! Another amazing use for bacon!

With a 1:30 kickoff the tailgates packed up and went to the game. Fans will return after the game to continue tailgating into the evening.

With the stadium full of orange, my tailgating trip to Balcksburg was complete. The Hokies were able to defeat ECU and claim their first win of the season. Thank you to everyone I visited in Blacksburg, I appreciate your hospitality and will definitely be back for a game day again soon!

Earlier in the day I discovered a few Penn State fans in Blacksburg. What a perfect segue to the next stop on the tour. This weekend I am headed to State College,PA, for stop #4 to discover what game day is like in Happy Valley!

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  1. says

    Those Hokies really know how to do it! My daughter was there looking at the school with my Brother and his family. Their daughter is a freshman and both he and his wife are alumni. They had a great time at the game and the tailgate party!

  2. Mike Jehle (aka @THEKID_) says

    Definitely taking this Hammer, Nails, Log drinking game idea with me next time we’re “Up North” Plenty of logs & drinking in Northern Wisconsin!

  3. Jared says

    Nice, Go Hokies!
    Glad you enjoyed Blacksburg. I’ve missed it so much since taking a job in Germany.
    Your photos brought be back for a few minutes this morning.
    Glad you found my buddy Matt. Ha!
    I’m gonna have to try some bacon wrapped corn.

  4. Kate says

    Great meeting you on the plane! These photos are great! They definitely show our Hokie spirit and taste of food :)
    Go Hokies!

  5. Joe says

    Glad to see my dog made it onto the blog! Sam made that boston butt bone disappear in about 30 seconds…
    Oh and I was scrolling down the list of colleges you went to and the girl in the picture for Tennessee actually went to my high school… small world…

  6. Allison W. says

    Wow… I’m so glad to see that you had a good time in Hokie Nation. My husband and I both went there and I have had season tickets since I graduated and we make it to all the home games and travel with them often as well (we’re such a Hokie family that our not quite 2-year old daughter points to herself when we ask her where the Hokie is). But, you only found the tip of the tailgating iceberg in Blacksburg. Behind the East-side stands (the student section) is an older area of Blacksburg and lots of amazing tailgates (of course with delicious food!). Hope you make it back soon and GO HOKIES!!!

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