The Grove, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Oxford, Mississippi
The Grove is the legendary tailgating area located at the center of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) campus. It is approximately 10 acres (4.0 ha) in size and is shaded by oak, elm and magnolia trees hence the grove part of the name.
Surrounded by ancient oaks, mysterious elms, and Mississippi magnolias, the Southern legend known as “The Grove” graciously plays host, most autumn Saturday afternoons, to thousands of Ole Miss Rebel tailgaters. Located in the heart of the University of Mississippi, Southern manners and rich tradition reign supreme at a college football tradition second to none.
The Ole Miss Alumni Association's Grove Society began in 1998 to preserve the 10-acre (4.0 ha) green space. The Grove Society posts a strict schedule for the event.
Described as "the Holy Grail of tailgating sites" by Sporting News, The Grove comes to life for Ole Miss Rebels football home games with as many as 25,000 fans. Fans arrive often around 2:00PM the day before the game (campus rule is no one allowed to "stake their claim" before 9:00 pm, which is enforced by campus police) to grab their spot in The Grove. This usually serene area of campus becomes a sea of red, white and blue tents. Ole Miss students generally dress in their Sunday best: Men wear slacks, button-up shirts, bow ties, Sperry Top Siders, and coats while women wear cocktail dresses or brightly colored sundresses and high heel shoes. Some older fans also dress in this style.
Many tents are set up with fine kitchen ware. You'll often find lots of lace and designer doilies, fine china, chandeliers, sterling silver or silver plated candelabras and sterling silver or silver plated utensils. Much of the food is laid out on table cloths in sterling silver or silver-plated servers.
The food fare often consists of hors d'oeuvres, but as with most tailgating parties, barbecue still has authority. There's also the traditional Southern food: fried chicken, pork, homemade dressings, mashed potatoes and stuffed eggs.
Every now and then, a loud voice breaks the hum of the crowd present in The Grove with the yell, "Are you READY?" This is the beginning of the Ole Miss cheer, known as "Hotty Toddy."