By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
Fairmont State University’s and Pierpont Community & Technical College’s homecoming celebrations continued Saturday, with tailgating before the homecoming game in the Duvall-Rosier Field parking lot.
Current students, alumni and community members were all there, showing the Fighting Falcons their support, and, of course, eating good tailgate food.
Emily Swain, FSU director of alumni relations, said the turnout was “wonderful.”
“I think it’s great! We have a couple of our fraternities and sororities out. We had a reception last night for the ’80s decade, and they’re here tailgating. We have some of our Hall of Fame members tailgating, and the Alumni Association has a big tailgate tent,” Swain said. “We have a full parking lot, and everyone is having a good time.”
The Alumni Association at FSU’s tent was full of people lining up for food, from pulled pork sandwiches to fried chicken and veggie dip. Tables were set up for alumni to sit down and catch up with each other.
Craig Baker, FSU Class of 2001, was enjoying talking to old friends, and said the good weather didn’t hurt.
“The tailgating scene is great. The weather is perfect for early October,” Baker said. “We’re ready to get this game started.”
James L. Swisher, vice president of Tau Beta Iota fraternity and FSU Class of ’61, helped organize a tent for TBI alumni and current students.
“We’ve had a good turnout,” Swisher said. “The homecoming tailgate is great because you get to see people you haven’t seen in a long time. Socializing, friendship, meeting everybody — it’s great.”
Gary K. Bennett came to the game with his family, friends and a 44-foot-long Holiday Rambler Navigator motor home. Bennett, Class of ’72 and instructor at FSU for 28 years, is currently the chair of the Fairmont State Foundation. He says that the homecoming tailgating event allows him to talk to alumni in a less formal setting.
“At homecoming, you get to see folks you haven’t seen since last year. You get to renew friendships and also meet some new alumni folks,” Bennett said.
Bennett and his wife, Barbara Bennett, had a full spread to share with alumni, with subs, fried chicken, cookies, and his wife’s homemade fudge and antipasta salad.
Current students were out socializing, too. Christina Satterfield, FSU sophomore, was out with Delta Zeta, the sorority that won the spirit stick at FSU’s pep rally Thursday.
“It’s great fun,” Satterfield said. “We’ve met a lot of alumni today. Everyone’s come out and had a good time.”
Satterfield said some alumni travelled far to get to the festivities.
“I met this one woman from New York. She’s a Delta Zeta alumni, and she came all the way from New York just to be here,” Satterfield said. “It’s really great.”
The entire Burch family was out to support their son, offensive lineman Tyler Burch. David Burch, Tyler Burch’s father, said they have been to every home game this year, but that the homecoming tailgate offered something special.
“The homecoming tailgate is fun,” Burch said. “More people, and the atmosphere and excitement are great.”
Throughout the tailgate, music was blasting, little kids were running around, people were playing cornhole, and a few kids were throwing a football around.
Tim McNeely, FSU athletic director, said that the tailgate had turned out very well.
“Looking around, it’s fantastic,” McNeely said. “There’s a huge crowd, and everyone knows each other. Kids are running around, there’s balloons, and the weather is perfect. We couldn’t ask for any better.”
Email Colleen S. Good at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.