Whether you're a Florida Gators football fan ready to get your Gator chomp on down at "The Swamp" or an opposing team out-of-towner, it's time for "TailGators" to get ready for game-day festivities at the University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
While the University of Florida (UF) consistently ranks in the top 10 party schools, most recently as the top party school of the decade, and Gator fans are still one of the college football tailgating masters, there are guidelines and rules to follow when tailgating. Smart TailGators will thoroughly review the official Florida Gators detailed game-day guide when planning to attend any home game.
Pertinent highlights and tips for tailgating:
Go early, as public parking is limited near the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. On gameday, stadium-access roads close 2.5 hours prior to start time and remain closed until after the game. Special parking areas are available for disabled and RV parking. Tow trucks abound, so don't even think about parking in unapproved areas. TailGators often use the "Park and Ride" Shuttle service to park and party at designated city parking lots. Shuttle service from the lots starts three hours before kickoff.
As a notorious top party school should, Florida Gators football tailgating policies are few but well-enforced. Behave, clean up your stuff, and don't take open containers of alcohol on sidewalks, streets, or in unapproved parking lots.
For stadium and on-campus public parking, tailgate within parking spot(s) or in any open grassy area. Don't block streets and/or walkways and limit music to parking spot(s) or grassy area. Golf carts, mopeds and scooters are not allowed. University Athletic Association (UAA) staff approval is required before gameday for large industrial-sized cookers, portable generators, portable toilets, and company/business signage.Other Pre-Game Festivities
- Three hours prior to kickoff, the official "Gator FanFest" opens outside of Gate 2 in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. It's free and fans can play interactive games, get autographs from other Gator athletes, win prizes, and listen to the live Gator Network pre-game radio show.
Two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff, in a notable change from the time in past years, GatorNation fans can join the UF cheerleaders, mascots, and pep band in the official "Gator Walk" to cheer the team upon its arrival to the stadium. The team arrives in buses on the corner of University Avenue and Gale Lemerand Drive, then walk along sidewalks into Gate Eight and across Florida Field into the locker room.
- Consider several official and unofficial organizations such as Gator Clubs, Gator Boosters.
- It's Florida, so remember the sunscreen, insect repellant, and sunglasses even when cloudy.
Smoking is prohibited in all areas on campus, including the stadium and parking lots.
Marla Mayes is a long-time Gator football fan and former TailGator extraordinaire during her college years.