For many in NEPA, fall is all about football.
And there are so many ways to enjoy a game.
Some have their favorite spot on the couch or their lucky bar stool that somehow always helps the team win. Others spend their chilly Friday evenings under the lights, cheering on the local high school teams. But whether you’re a die-hard or just a casual fan who only shows up for the food, you simply must experience the ultimate football day trip — Penn State Football.
A small town becomes a city
For seven Saturdays every fall, the storied Beaver Stadium in Center County fills with over 100,000 loyal football fans. Overnight, the population of Happy Valley, as it has been aptly named, nearly triples in size. The green fields surrounding the stadium fill with cars and caravans; each bursting with fans of all ages.
The set up.
Soon the ample space between rows of cars is littered with tents, tables and chairs. Adults, teens and children take turns at games of cornhole, ladder toss and Kan Jam. Music of just about every genre fills the air along with the scent of grilled burgers, hot dogs and BBQ chicken. Some seasoned tailgaters even set up griddles and portable stove tops to make eggs, French toast and, when it’s cold, soup.
Strangers become neighbors.
Every tailgate party follows the simple formula of the four F’s – Football, Food, Fun and Friends. At this point, we’ve already covered the first three, and making friends is easy when you have plenty of food and beer. As you get to meet your fellow tailgaters, you’ll find that football Saturdays at Penn State tend to balance upon the theme of camaraderie. Every single person you meet is just looking to have a good time (yes, even if they’re Michigan fans).
About an hour before kickoff, a quiet descends over the scene of revelry as coolers are shuttered and grills are extinguished. A migration has begun. A horde clad in blue and white marches toward the iconic stadium in step with the thundering drums of the famous Blue Band. Inside, the mood is electric. This excitement continues from the kickoff to the final whistle.
Plan early. Pick a game. Get your tickets and a parking pass and load up the car for one of the best day trips Pennsylvania can offer.
You gotta’ get to Happy Valley for Penn State football!
Of course, you can always keep it local
Maybe you love getting together with friends, but don’t want to commit to the long drive. Well, there’s plenty of football fun to be had at these local sports bars. You should still wear your team colors though.
Check Out These Popular Sports Bars:
Happy Valley Sports Bar
Dickson City, PA
Trackside Station Grill & Bar
East Stroudsburg, PA
Andy Gavin's Eatery & Pub
M & M Red Zone Bar and Grill
Mahanoy City, PA
Joey B's Bar and Restaurant
Black Diamond Bar & Restaurant
Backyard Ale House
Drafts Bar & Grill
Lake Ariel, PA
And who said you can’t tailgate at home?
If you’ve spent countless hours working on your neighborhood football palace, you might as well put it to good use. Call on your friends, family and maybe even your coworkers (maybe). And don’t bother with all that cooking. Let one of NEPA’s famous pizza & wing joints do all the work for you.
Look Up These Favorite Local Spots for Pizza and Wings:
Grotto Pizza Gateway
The Frog Pond Pub & Pizzeria
Kelly's Pub & Eatery
Old Forge, PA
Hog's Hollow Saloon
Savo’s Pizza and Family Restaurant
Pittston Twp., PA
Take Pics, Share the Love and Spread the Fun
It’s a long season. There will be plenty of victories and defeats, and many wild football weekends. Whether you’ve decked out your garage in Eagle green, plastered your basement with Nittany blue and white or made that trip to Happy Valley, we’re curious to see how you throw a proper football party. Share your tailgate pics with us at #DiscoverNEPA.
Article Updated from its Original Version Published on 9/10/2018.