It’s getting cold outside, but that didn’t stop the football fans from filling Central Park Plaza on Saturday evening for the first ever Great Downtown Tailgate.
The event was put on by Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events. I was able to speak to Tina St. Aubin, the executive director for Valparaiso Community and Events.
“This is another way for people to gather and have fun in downtown Valpo,” St. Aubin said. “We started planning this in January, and we were looking to find a way for people to come out and enjoy the game without having to travel to the stadium. They could come here, relax with friends, and enjoy some football.”
There were all sorts of things to do that evening. The game which was Notre Dame vs. Miami was shown on a huge screen located on the Plaza’s stage for the patron’s viewing pleasure. At 5pm the gates opened and people brought their own tailgating supplies and happily socialized before the game started at 6:30pm. Other pre-game activities included a zip line that let people fly over the park, a field goal football kick and a quarterback toss. A beer/wine garden and food were provided by Bistro 157 and Valpo Velvet. All activities were available after the game started, too.
Here’s something extra cool: the first 500 people that stopped by the Valparaiso Community and Events Tent recieved a free color-changing stadium cup! Those cups were pretty nifty.
And what normally happens when football fans get together in large groups to watch the game? That’s right, folks, all kinds of cheering, friendly banter, and fashion. Many came dressed up in colorful jerseys, coats, hats in support of their favorite team.
I grabbed a minute with Notre Dame fan, Dan Hinshaw.
“I came out tonight to try and get an authentic feel for being out at the stadium and being out at a night game at Notre Dame. This is a great way to interact with other fans and to go out and have a good time,” Hinshaw said. “And it is something different then not being able to go out to South Bend or wherever the game might be held. Plus, it’s great to see other Irish fans.”
The night turned out great and everyone had a fantastic time. This is just goes to show that though the days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping that doesn’t stop the people in Valparaiso from coming together and have a great time and make a memory.
To find out more about the Great Downtown Tailgate click here!
Click here to see the Facebook page!
Sponsors for the event: Grieger Motor Sales, and NIPSCO.
Presenting Partner: NITCO.