by Marissa Potts
It’s that time of the year when the air gets crisp, the smell of burgers on the grill wafts through the air, and you get to cheer on your team! Although football season is slowly coming to an end, there are still plenty of opportunities to tailgate. Orlando does not have an NFL team at the moment, but we are home to the UCF Knights! To get in the spirit of the season, we visited my alma mater and learned all about UCF Tailgating in Memory Mall.
Where Should I Go?
Even though UCF is my alma mater, I had actually never been tailgating before! My cousin who is a current UCF student gave us the full run down. It seemed like the area with the fraternities and sororities was a little more wild than Memory Mall. We spent the majority of our time in Memory Mall because it was a little more family friendly with people of all ages in this area.
I definitely suggest taking the walk to the Student Union if you get there early. You can often see the UCF Marching Band warming up in this area before the game. However, even if you arrive only slightly early, you can still catch a glimpse of the band. The band walks from the Student Union to the Bounce House stadium shortly before the game, and gets the fans hyped up! Don’t worry if these names of places sound unfamiliar. There are many maps around campus to guide you towards each stop!
When you arrive at UCF, you’ll find that tailgating mainly takes place in Memory Mall. This area is specifically the long strip of grass in front of the basketball arena. There is a pathway that leads to the sorority and fraternity area for tailgating to the left by the classroom buildings.
Tailgating was honestly so much fun! UCF hosts the tailgating so you’ll be happy to note that there are many security officers and faculty members on the premises to keep things safe. There are usually food trucks, brands passing out trinkets, and students prepping to have a good time at the game. My favorite part was all of the dogs! I checked the official rules and it seems that the dogs weren’t technically allowed unless they were service animals. However, based on the number of dogs I saw, I think UCF might let that rule slide. The dogs were decked out in their UCF gear and were so adorable!
Activities around Memory Mall for tailgating include corn hole, soccer, and tossing footballs. We were nervous about being in our mid-20s and feeling excluded, but the college students were so nice! They taught us some new games and helped us get in the spirit! And there were families with members of all ages participating in the fun.
Images by @marissa-potts
UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center
Another popular spot for UCF Alumni to tailgate is at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, located across from the Arena at the end of Memory Mall! This is completely free to alumni and their guests, offering both indoor and outdoor areas to socialize. When it comes to food and drinks, the Oviedo Brewing Company gives out 2-3 free beers per person throughout the tailgate. There’s also a bar with mixed drinks and 4Rivers BBQ for purchase.
Be sure to grab a pic with the UCF spirit team and Knightro while you’re there! You can also find some jumbo games such as connect four and beer pong with trashcans around for kids and families alike.
Images by UCF Alumni
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy football this season in Orlando, check out UCF! Tailgating was so much fun and I can’t wait to go back again soon! Go Knights, Charge On! What’s your favorite football tradition?
UCF is located in East Orlando right by Waterford Lakes. Waterford Lakes is a great area for families who love to have fun but also enjoy privacy and quiet. The Waterford Lakes shopping plaza is home to a variety of stores, restaurants, and activities like Top Golf. WIth UCF just around the corner, there are plenty of sporting events, activities, and shows to enjoy as well! With only about a 45 minute drive to Disney World and about 30 minutes to Universal, you’re still close enough to the fun of the theme parks. Curious about homes near Waterford Lakes?
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