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In Delaware Hens Eat Chicken!
By Jim Kelley
Tailgater Contributing Writer

The University of Delaware Tailgaters are always ready for FOOTBALL! And no offense to our collegiate big brothers, but Division 1AA fans can tailgate with the best of ‘em!

Some 20,000+ Blue Hen fans come out on Saturdays each fall to meet friends, family and fellow Blue Hen faithful. Thousands of tailgaters flock to Delaware Stadium, bringing their favorite dishes to the party and sampling each other's delicacies. Huge parties and big grills are everywhere, with chicken, fish and steak served, among other foods. Boy what a tailgate!

It's not unusual to see tents, tables, blankets, picnic baskets, grills, hotplates, coolers, generators and blenders throughout the grounds of South Campus. Food and drink are being served in everything from paper cups to fine crystal. Flowers, balloons, flags, streamers and banners all can be seen at thousands of tailgates before, during and long after our Atlantic 10 Conference and non-conference games. When our beloved Hens are on the road, several thousand fans take their tailgate mobile to college towns throughout the country.

The biggest game of the season is Homecoming, or whenever archrival Villanova comes to town. Fans go all out. Usually there are about six or seven of us regulars at each tailgate, along with plenty of crashers making it a full-blown social affair.

The tailgating atmosphere at Delaware is electric. The stadium and surrounding lots are large enough to approximate the feeling of a Division 1 college game and small enough to avoid the congestion problems of those bigger schools. The grounds are set up for tailgating in sections: South End Zone - where the students and rowdy locals rave. North End Zone - where the Alumni wax nostalgic. East Stands - where the local companies and organizations merge. West Stands – where season ticket holders and VIPs break open the bubbly. Field House -- concrete parking for the common tailgaters. And finally there’s the Farm – for those who like the mud and sludge. Everyone else can usually find a spot on Route 896 and Route 4.

One of our most popular tailgating dishes for Delaware games is Spiral Ham. It is easy to serve and goes well with any side dish. It also makes for a great sandwich. My Blue Hen e-mail friend John Kwoka and his gang tailgate on the other side of the stadium. His menu always changes but the one staple is a marinated filet mignon sandwich that his friend Doc spices up. They also have chili, chicken and dumplings, pork tenderloin, burgers (ground beef w/ spices and onions), and taco salad.

John’s tailgate consists of three trucks from three families: the Schleifers, the Dougherty's and the Kwokas. They all grew up in the same neighborhood, going back a long time. Doc and his dad, who has since  passed away, started the tailgating tradition with the families. I asked John what the best part of tailgating at Delaware is and he said it is the time spent with family and friends, people who love each other and who love sharing their affection for the Blue Hens.

Although University of Delaware officials are enforcing an old policy of "no tailgating once the game starts", we Blue Hen tailgaters will find creative ways to deliver a good time to the Faithful and fight for the Blue & Gold!

And then we'll fight, fight, fight for Delaware, Fight for the Blue and Gold...


Fans enjoying the College Day atmosphere

Send us your stories of glorious and wacky tailgates gone by, and if we use it, we'll send you a Tailgater T-shirt! Send them to editor@thetailgater.com.

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