Illinois will debut their new tailgate area on Memorial Stadium's West side when they host Kent State on Friday, Sept. 4. The athletic department released official design renderings of what the transformation to Lot 36 will look like. The announcement of the change was made March 9 along with the home opener being moved to Friday night.
"The Lot 36 area, inclusive of the Red Grange statue on the west side of Memorial Stadium, has seen a variety of uses throughout the 90-plus years the venue has been in existence. Fans who remember coming in for Tailgreat will be excited that this type of atmosphere will be returning along with some new wrinkles that we are finalizing in preparation for the 2015 home season.
This park setting will be open for use throughout the year for a variety of activities and outdoor events. On Fighting Illini game days, this area will be the place to be, as we'll showcase first-come, first-served tailgating opportunities to any group who would like to be right next to the stadium. Fans will be able to bring in their own food and drinks into this area and the result will be a great party. Our priority is creating energy around the stadium that will then move inside as the Orange and Blue need us all, loud and proud, prepared to be an intimidating force inside Memorial Stadium."
~ Mike Thomas, Athletic Director
Following the initial announcement, one Twitter user came up with a name for the new space and the TCR staff supports it.
@WernerESPNCU Illini version of "The Grove"? I say we call it "The Pasture" outside "The Farm"— Cody Langellier (@CJLangellier) March 9, 2015
The Grove is the legendary 10 acre tailgating spot at Ole Miss. It started as an informal tailgating get-together, but became a pre game tradition in the 1950s. Fans often arrive around noon the day before the game and claim their spot.
What does this have to do with Illini football? As Langellier suggest, the Illini should name their new tailgating area "The Pasture" and as it sits next to the State Farm Center aka "The Farm." It's great idea and the athletic department's marketing team should get a moooove on with it.
Red Grange would approve.