Good Life

A photographer’s tales of tailgating

Beth Napolitano offers pastries to friends at her family’s tailgate outside of Beaver Stadium before the football game against Maryland on Oct. 8.
Beth Napolitano offers pastries to friends at her family’s tailgate outside of Beaver Stadium before the football game against Maryland on Oct. 8. adrey@centredaily.com

Penn Staters outside of Beaver Stadium will tell you: “I tailgate with the best.” To many it’s not just gameday, it’s a day to barbecue, drink, play cornhole, catch up with friends and laugh.

This is my sixth season covering Penn State football for the Centre Daily Times. Although I’m around the stadium all day, I don’t know exactly what it means to tailgate. My trunk is full of camera gear, not delicious treats and Penn State swag.

But every game, I make it a point to go out and wander the tailgates before kickoff. You’ve all been enthusiastic and hospitable when I pop by to snap some photos of your pop-up parking spot party.

I’ve smelled things sizzling on your grills from eggs to burgers and even lobster tails. There have been intense games of stump and casual football toss arounds. And from old school buses to ambulances and fire trucks, everything can be made into a tailgate-mobile.

The stories are always the most fun to hear — how RVers have become friends, how it’s a family tradition or how football brought you to your loved one. Some have been tailgating for years, and others are taking in the sights for their first trip to Happy Valley. And age isn’t a question, from infants to college students to alumni new and old.

Saturdays in the fall truly do make this place Happy Valley.

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