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Experience the Park Ohio Stadium Fan Guide
Join a Tailgate
Ohio State football fans are as passionate and knowledgeable about their team as fans anywhere, but something takes a close second to cheering on the Bucks inside Ohio Stadium: the tailgating going on outside. ESPN.com did a campus tailgate tour a couple of years back and columnist Eric Neel wrote that, of all the places he’d been, “I’ve never seen anything quite like home-game Saturday in Columbus.” Neel continued: “The tailgating goes on for miles … It looks like the pilgrims come to Mecca; it looks like mass at St. Peter's.” No, it’s just another Saturday at the ‘Shoe.
So, wander the lots directly adjacent to the stadium, the festive bus and RV lots by the Schottenstein Center or any place someone has set up a grill and cooler and attracted a crowd. And be sure to eat a Buckeye, a great treat found at many tailgates. We’re not talking the actual nut, which is mildly toxic, but the chocolate and peanut butter confection made to look like the school’s symbol. But watch out for the ‘beer police.’ Columbus and campus police are known to make occasional random sweeps telling fans to dump their alcoholic drinks.
To some fans, the tailgate is as important as the game. Here are some tips when at Ohio State:
- The best place to tailgate is in the lots directly adjacent to the stadium, particularly the East Stadium Lot, although access is limited to vehicles with special passes, and those are extremely expensive and hard to come by. That doesn’t mean you can’t visit relatives or friends who have set up there, or make friends on game-day morning.
- Tailgating is permitted in the nearby parking garages but grilling isn’t, even on the roof.
- The bus and RV lots provide a festive atmosphere but were recently moved from the St. John Arena lot to the Value City Arena lot, meaning a much farther walk to the stadium for these folks.
Buzz kill: For years the Columbus and campus police seemed to have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on alcohol consumption. That changed in 2004 when police made frequent parking lot sweeps and had fans pour out their alcoholic drinks. Tip: a Starbucks cup with a lid does a fine job of concealing whatever’s inside.