Make the Most of Your Game Weekend

By: Maggie Crouch

With fall comes cooler weather and changing leaves, but also arguably the best season of the year: football season. In Oxford, gameday is a holiday comparable to Christmas morning. If you’re new here or visiting for the first time, game weekends can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips to make your game weekend the best it can be!

FRIDAY

If you get into town Friday afternoon, there’s plenty to do after checking into your hotel and before cheering on the Rebs (or the opposing team) on Saturday.

Double Decker Bus Tour

You can jump on the historic Double Decker Bus for a tour of the city to not only learn about the rich history of the city, but also to get a feel for the place that you’ll be calling home for the weekend. Tours start at Visit Oxford (1013 Jackson Ave E) where you can get a ticket for the hour long tour for $10, $5 kids. Tour dates and times change seasonally, so check out the schedule here. You can also call ahead to make a reservation- on weekends like Double Decker Arts Festival or Ole Miss Graduation, spots fill up quick!

Rowan Oak

If you want to continue your history lesson, you can stop by Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home, to walk the grounds and get a glimpse into his beautiful house anytime from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

(open Tues – Sat 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)

Running of the Tents
Starting at 7 p.m., you can begin to set up your tent in the Grove for tailgating on Saturday. Even if you won’t have your own tent, it’s still fun to go watch because everyone does a mad dash to secure their favorite spot underneath the trees. Complete with a countdown clock and security making sure no one sneaks in early, the “running of the tents” is something to see for yourself.

Dinner on the Square
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, the Square offers a variety of restaurants to satisfy your hunger. Whether you’re looking for some classic Southern cuisine from Ajax Diner or taking in stellar views of the Square from The Coop on the Graduate rooftop, the options for your Friday night are endless. If you’re wanting to be a little closer to the action, the Bouré and City Grocery balconies are your best bet.

SATURDAY

Whether you enjoy the nightlife on Friday or decide to rest up for gameday, Saturday will be filled with even more opportunities to explore everything Oxford has to offer.

Shopping and Lunch on the Square
Depending on what time kickoff is, you could grab lunch on the Square. There’s also plenty of boutiques and shops where you can purchase a clear purse that complies with the stadium policies or a last-minute red polo if you forgot to check the color you’re encouraged to wear before packing. Be sure to take the free shuttle to campus once you’re done on the Square!

The Grove

As for the Grove, it can be difficult navigating through the sea of red and blue tents if it’s your first time and you don’t know where you’re going. The good news is that nobody is a stranger in the Grove, and chances are if you look lost or confused, someone will take you under his or her wing and make sure you’re fed and hydrated.

Walk of Champions
Definitely make it to the Grove for the Walk of Champions when the players and coaches walk through the heart of the tailgating scene greeted by fans and high fives as they walk to the stadium. The walk always happens two hours before kickoff so make sure you get there in plenty of time to see your favorite players.

 Photo by Ole Miss Athletics

No matter where you watch the game, whether you go into Vaught Hemingway Stadium, watch on a TV in a Grove tent or go to the Square to catch it at a bar, make sure you learn the Hotty Toddy chant!

SUNDAY

Even though Oxford turns into the sleepy town you would read about in a book on Sundays,  there’s still so much to do if you’re not too wiped out from gameday.

Sunday Brunch

Many restaurants on and off the Square offer brunch and lunch options on Sundays so fill up on your last taste of Southern comfort food before hitting the road.

Big Bad Breakfast Photo by Paul Gandy for Visit Oxford

Take a Drive
You could also take the scenic route through campus before hitting the highway to see what the Grove looks like after it’s been cleaned up and take in all the beautiful buildings on campus. You’ll be amazed the transformation the campus takes the day after.

Museums
If you didn’t get a chance to see Rowan Oak earlier in the weekend, tours are available from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. You could also check out the LQC Lamar House (open Fri. – Sun. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.), a historic house museum whose walls tell the story of the statesman L.Q.C. Lamar, or Cedar Oaks (open Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.).

Needless to say, if you’ve never experienced a game weekend in Oxford, you’re missing out.  Visit us and get a taste of all Oxford has to offer.

HOTTY TODDY Y’ALL!

Feature photo credit: MDA