Shaun Ho /The Collegian
Not even the heat could keep people away from tailgating on the grassy lots to the east and west of Bulldog Stadium in the hours before the game Saturday.
Tailgating, the classic football tradition of partying just outside the stadium, was in full force for Fresno Stateâ€™s home opener against Sacramento State.
Nearly every fan was decked out in Fresno State red, lounging in folding chairs and watching the children dash around with footballs and soccer balls.
For Fresno State students, the promise of freebies was the reason they came to tailgate.
â€œI tailgate so I can hang out with my friends and chill before the game with some free food,â€ said Chad Chrisman, a third-year Fresno State student.
Chrisman has tailgated in previous years at Fresno State games.
â€œIâ€™ll come back, as long as theyâ€™re giving away free tickets,â€ said Chrisman.
He goes to most of the home games, reasoning that he would travel to a game and tailgate, as long as there were free tickets.
He received a free ticket for being one of the first students to attend the tailgate put on by Associated Students, Inc. at the corner of Bulldog Lane and Cedar Avenue.
At Fresno State, most of the older alumni tailgaters have elaborate set-ups with banners, flags, a grill and tents.
Tri-tips, hotdogs and hamburgers dominate the food choices.
The student-run tailgates consisted of pizzas, soda and an assortment of plastic chairs and tables.
â€œItâ€™s pretty hot, they could use some fans,â€ said Chrisman.
Jaquii Bailey, a second-year psychology major at Fresno State had never been to a tailgate party before.
â€œIâ€™m here for the free tickets, at least this place has a breeze and itâ€™s in the shade and out of the sun,â€ said Bailey. â€œI would have gone to the game anyway, but the free ticket makes it better.â€
Terri Bailey, who attended only one football game last year had only one complaint. There was no ice.
â€œThere is no ice, my soda is hot and it tastes like bath water,â€ said Bailey, a first-year transfer student at Fresno State.
The ice came later, far after the first round of sodas had been downed with the stack of pizzas and the paper plates that had been blown away by the erratic breeze.
The tailgate area was mostly filled with Fresno State alumni along with their families and friends.
The families have the tailgating down to an art, many with televisions to keep up on the other college football games. All brought red tablecloths with a variety of drinks and meat sitting on top.
Most of the students filed into the stadium minutes before the game, heading straight for the student section without visiting any of the tailgates.
There was only one thing that stopped the kids tossing their footballs and the adults consuming their beverages.
All heads turned when the Fresno State Marching Band came thundering through the tailgate area, winding their way past the ESPN Radio tailgate and the Table Mountain bandstand on their way to the stadium.
Onlookers watched as the kids cheered, the parents clapped and the students searched for ice â€“â€“ and free tickets.
For more information on â€˜tailgatesâ€™ and other football events, check out www.gobulldogs.com or www.fresnostatenews.com.
For the Associated Students, Inc. â€˜tailgatesâ€™, check out their Web site at www.as.csufresno.edu.
Miss last Saturdayâ€™s tailgate? Donâ€™t worry, there are going to be several more throughout the season. Here are some upcoming dates:
â€¢ Sept. 29, Oct. 20 & 26, Nov. 3 & 24
â€¢ Prices vary depending on host.
â€¢ www.almuniconnections.com is one site with info.