It’s the day before the Penn State-Pitt football game and Sharon Frazier has one cellphone clutched in her hand and another attached to her belt buckle as she moves swiftly through Grange Park.
All Nittany RVs are set up and ready for customers headed to experience one of the company’s trademarked “Turnkey Tailgate Weekends” — grills are cleaned, blue and white carpets draped on the ground in front of all vehicles — but Frazier, who owns Nittany RV with her husband, Jeff McClellan, can still find more tweaks to be made. She points to one RV and notes that a step stool needs to be placed under the stairs. Magnet numbers need to be replaced on another.
It’s like decorating a Christmas tree, Frazier said, and there’s always an addition to be made.
“I’m a huge fan of Penn State football, a huge fan of tailgating — I just look at it like, ‘how do (tailgaters) want it?’ ” she said.
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The Coburn couple have run Nittany RV for more than a decade, providing fully stocked and serviced RVs for tailgaters who really only need to worry about bringing clothes and spirits. But things are different this football season. Previously, they’d set up for customers at the Overnight RV lot at Beaver Stadium. But this year, Penn State implemented changes to the lot that included larger — but fewer — parking stalls. All ORV lots were sold out by June, and Nittany RV, along with hundreds of other RV owners, prepared to make the satellite lot at Grange Park their tailgating home.
The move was concerning to the small business owners, and McClellan said they did lose customers who didn’t want to stay 14 miles from the stadium. But as they’ve found out in the early weekends of the season, Grange Park has its perks. For tailgaters, that means availability of food vendors, shower houses, washer and dryers, and ice.
“It’s a good fit for Penn State tailgating,” said Frazier, who is also the event manager for Penn State tailgating at Grange Park. “This is an RV park; the other place was a field.”
The new location also simplifies operations for Nittany RV. The 32 RVs stay parked in Centre Hall throughout the week, while the ORV lot was always just for the weekend. People can check-in on Thursday nights now, and the Nittany RV crew — there’s 64 part-time employees — work the rest of the week on cleaning RVs and accessories and getting ready for the next game.
“I think this could turn out to be a very positive thing, simply because of what we’re able to do here,” McClellan said.
Frazier said that most Nittany RV tailgaters take a shuttle to the football game, although watching it from the outdoor TV is also an option. For the time the tailgaters spend at Grange Park, Frazier makes it her mission to make sure they have everything they need or want for a memorable weekend. If it’s not in the RV already — each has bedding, towels, kitchen appliances, utensils and a stocked fridge if Frazier has a grocery list beforehand — it’s probably in “Walmart,” which is what Frazier calls the on-site bus filled with inventory.
“After 10 years, I’ve learned what people forget,” she said.
If it’s something that’s still not there or an unusual request — a gaming system, for example — Frazier said she’ll run out and get whatever the tailgaters need, a mission made easier now that she doesn’t have to fight game-day traffic.
She doesn’t mind. Without hesitation, both Frazier and McClellan said that “the people” are the best part of their jobs — the families they know by name, the babies they’ve seen become Nittany Lions fans.
“The reason I’m here is to make their weekend successful,” Frazier said. “When somebody comes here, they’re creating a memory.”
For more information, visit nittanyrv.com.