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Rutgers Football Tailgater of the Week: Michigan State Edition

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The final tailgate of the year makes people want to go big. Boy, did they ever!

For all tailgaters, the final tailgate of the year brings mixed emotions. Sadness that the fun is over for another few months, but also excitement and a desire to go out big. Well, this week’s group really went out B1G!

Our final tailgater to recognize has been on these pages before. Earlier this same season, while not tailgater of the week, fundraising for breast cancer awareness brought their group to our attention. This week, however, we are pleased to honor The Scarlet Party as our Tailgater of the Week! As we discuss their event, it’ll be easy to see why.

The Scarlet Party is a seriously organized group! Each game is scripted with one member of the group named as the quarterback. That person is the one responsible for all of the events in the tailgate. As the group has grown, so have the responsibilities of the quarterback, so at this point, being named quarterback is a really big deal. This week’s quarterback for the group is also an R Fund captain, Dave Glass.

While I’m sure they are excited to be our Tailgater of the Week here at On the Banks, this is far from their first recognition as a group. They have been named Tailgater of the Week earlier this season by Miller Light, who recognizes a group in the stadium each week, and they have subsequently been named Tailgater of the Year by them as well. So, our choice seems to be a unanimous recognition of their skills at “big time” tailgating.

This group really knows how to have a good time!

While 24 people are the core of this group, approximately 100 people joined them at their tailgate last Saturday, and it had anything you’d want at the best tailgate, and then some. They had food and drinks catered by Quaker Steak & Lube in Edison, who donated their food as well as time for the cause, all of which is a definite incentive to attend.

However, at the heart of a tailgate for The Scarlet Party is giving. Each attendee was sent a link, and prior to the game donated to the R Fund, the fundraising arm of Rutgers Athletics. They are estimating that they raised over $2K for the athletic program as a result of just this tailgate.

This is a family tailgate, however. The ages of the group ranged from very young to Rutgers grads from the 80s and earlier. It is always great to see the crowd’s diversity at tailgates, because at heart it is a family event here in Piscataway!

However, if you’re planning to create a memorable tailgate that stands out, you need more than just food, right? So, this group went all out. They also brought in a live band, to perform at the tailgate!

As the sign in the picture above says, Jersey’s Own Hoi Polloi joined them to play, and the crowd had a great time with them as well. Here’s a short clip of their performance below:

As mentioned above, this is a group that has had recognition for their efforts in the past, and they want everyone to know they are pros at tailgating.

The group decided that demonstrating this isn’t their first rodeo was important. Not only did they get a live band and have the food catered, they decided to up the ante and have a mechanical bull available for the group to pass the time during the tailgate as well. Quite a few joined in this part of the celebration as well, including some more famous names.

This was the Scarlet Party’s first year at combining the fun of tailgating with fundraising for a good cause. After January 1, they will meet as a group to plan out their tailgates for the 2018 football season, and the goal is to combine every one with a fundraiser of some type. As Scarlet Party member Donna Canavan says, “It’s a party with a purpose.” Congratulations to The Scarlet Party!

Donna Canavan and her daughter Amanda (RU ‘20)

Additions

There are always lots of interesting sights to see as you travel around the tailgating lots. Overall, it is obvious that people are having a good time, and enjoying themselves.

However, sometimes the fun is just too much, and they have to take a break from the excitement to store up some energy for the upcoming game! I’m sure that’s what’s going on in this picture.

Rutgers fan storing up energy for the game

As the team arrives to the stadium each week, fans gather to cheer them on as they enter, walking along the Scarlet Walk, and each touches the statue commemorating the first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869. The crowd loves seeing them as the approach, even before they reach the Scarlet Walk, too.

You also see fans mingling with the notables. I bumped into a familiar face as we were walking around the Scarlet Walk area. The Knight is always welcoming to fans and visitors alike.

Chris Rankin (l) and Mark Snyder (r) posing with the Scarlet Knight

The biggest challenge at each game is to pick a single group as tailgater of the week, as there as so many interesting tailgates, and so many great groups of people who come to each game. Each one has a fun history, and why they decided to tailgate at games. Also, there are lots of interesting items they bring to the games. In the past, we have shown you statues, carpets, specialized drink menus, unusual food options, and signs. Every group is unique, and every group has something different that you don’t find elsewhere. But the bottom line is, they are all fans, they all support the Scarlet Knights, and they all have a great time doing it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this season’s tailgaters, and we are already looking forward to the 2018 tailgating... I mean football season!