Tailgating Time For Tennessee Fans

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Football time in Tennessee is finally here, and for hundreds of Vol fans, Saturday night's game against California was larger than life.

They weren't in Neyland Stadium but they did watched the game on probably the biggest TV in Knoxville.

We were at World's Fair Park for what was being billed as the largest tailgate party in the Southeast.

Just behind the park's fountain, a flood of orange and white Power T's washed over the lawn.

One belongs to University of Tennessee Senior Cory McCormick.

"Well it's all I had clean," he said. "It's laundry day, it's just that I am a big Vols Fan."

McCormick and more than 120 other fans were all decked-out, head to toe in the colors of the season.

Everyone on the lawn was there for what was called the biggest tailgate party in the Southeast.

"It's nice to have a place where the whole community can rally around the team," McCormick said.

The "biggest" crowd may not be the 3,000 tailgaters that organizers expected, but the TV they used was probably the biggest around.

"It's 20 by 30 feet with High Definition and a 10,000 lumina projector on it," said J.R. Sander, the event's organizer.

Sander decided to invite all the tents, food and other Power T-touting fans because of his love of the Volunteer's

"It's all about the UT spirit," he said. "We have more, people's blood runs orange."

It's a spirit so bright that it shimmers in the Sunsphere.

But for Vols fan Terry Tuttle the night is a chance to re-live the memories hanging inside his friends trailer.

"All the pictures are from people that have come to our tailgate parties and experienced a great time," Tuttle said.

And Rocky Top means everything to these fans, well, almost everything.

"It's the greatest thing in the world, except for my girlfriend," Tuttle said.

Of course fans say they'd rather be in Neyland Stadium, watching the game, but for being an away game, the seats in World's Fair Park will do just fine.

"We could all be at our own houses watching this on small TV's," McCormick said. "It's a lot nicer to have a place where we can congregate."

Even before the game started, most fans said they already know who would win.

"Tennessee is going to kick that butt," Tuttle said.

"It just doesn't get any more exciting than this," according to Sanders.

"It's the Vols time man, football time in Tennessee," McCormick said.

And fans say it couldn't come fast enough.

Even though they didn't get the crowd they expected, organizers say the party was a success.


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