Many in the UMW community were excited for the 2022 Athletics Homecoming Tailgate at the Battleground Athletic Complex on Saturday, Oct. 22, which was the first tailgate back in person since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some students were less than impressed with the tailgating prices.
Ticket prices for this year’s tailgate have risen compared to pre-COVID prices. This year, general tailgate spaces were sold for $250 per space and included 10 tickets and one reserved parking space. Premium spaces were $500 per space and included 20 tickets and one VIP parking space. General entry for individuals was $20 per ticket.
In 2019, the last year that the homecoming tailgate was in person, general tailgate spaces were $200 and included 10 tickets, premium spaces cost $300 and included 20 tickets and general entry was $10 per ticket, according to Associate Director of Athletics Caitlin Erickson Moore.
Moore attributed the increased ticket prices to the rising costs of goods and services.
“Like everything, tailgating costs have increased: port-a-potties, fencing, staffing, etc.,” said Moore.
The funds raised by ticket sales go to UMW Athletics.
“This serves as a fundraiser for UMW Athletics and goes to support general needs for our student-athletes, specific to Strength and Conditioning, Athletic Training and student-athlete programming,” said Moore.
Because it was the event’s first return post-COVID, UMW hired a food truck and worked to get the event sponsored by the Virginia Lottery for the first time since 2013.
“We had a food truck present and intend to do that for future years,” said Moore.
All spots for the tailgate sold out at the beginning of the academic year, according to an article posted on the UMW Website.
Students from previous graduating classes returned to participate in the tailgate and watch the homecoming games.
“We wanted to come back and actually experience homecoming since we turned 21,” said Annie Madigan, a graduate student in the College of Education.
But the increased ticket price deterred some students from attending the tailgate.
“I didn’t want to pay the $20 to hang out with my friends when I can do that for free at our apartment,” said junior biology major Caitlin Harris.
Other homecoming events included Campus Programming Board’s Homecoming Bingo on Tuesday and Campus Recreation and Residence Hall Association’s Big Ash Bonfire.
Big Ash Bonfire took place on Jefferson Square last Wednesday, Oct. 19. After the bonfire, students camped in tents on the square.
“I got some free popcorn which was fun and hung around the fire with friends,” said senior English and studio art double major Emma Bower. “They blasted Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well’ and that’s how I lost all my quarters.”
Junior studio art and religious studies major Jenna Montijo also attended the bonfire and camped out on Jefferson Square afterward.
“The night of the bonfire was extremely cold, though extremely fun,” she said. “There was popcorn, apple cider and hot chocolate, and even a s’mores station to take part in while the bonfire was happening. Camping that night was also really enjoyable. I got to spend time with a friend and also relax for a night in the middle of a hectic semester.
That Friday was UMW’s Spirit Day, and the Campus Programming Board’s Mary Rock event, the homecoming concert on Ball Circle.
Both alumni and current students attended the homecoming festivities.
“It was really fun,” said junior pre-med biology major Rita Bishai. “I got to reconnect with some friends and I can’t wait to do it again next year!”
Addy Reeher contributed to reporting for this article.