Notre Dame Football: 5 Best Fighting Irish Gameday Experiences in South Bend

Connor KillorenSenior Analyst IJune 28, 2012

Notre Dame Football: 5 Best Fighting Irish Gameday Experiences in South Bend

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    There is nothing quite like a fall Saturday in South Bend when the Fighting Irish play at Notre Dame Stadium. It is an experience unlike any other in college football.

    Fighting Irish fans pride themselves on having one of the most unique game day experiences in the country, and for good reason. It is challenging to find a program with more tradition than Notre Dame.

    For a more detailed look at five of the best game day experiences in South Bend, take a look through this slideshow.


5. Watching the Marching Band at the Steps of the School of Architecture

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    Having the chance to watch the nation's oldest and most storied marching band is an experience in itself.

    Roughly two hours prior to kickoff, a portion of Notre Dame's marching band assembles on the stairs leading into the university's School of Architecture to play in front of a throng of fans.

4. Tailgating Outside of Notre Dame Stadium

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    If you have attended a Notre Dame home game, you've most likely made an appearance at a tailgate or two.

    Sure, tailgating is a common activity throughout college football, but there seems to be a special "buzz" and "aura" around the tailgates in South Bend.

    And if you're searching for a knowledgeable armchair quarterback, just keep your ears open for discussion centering around why Brian Kelly should make certain decisions or why certain players should be benched, etc.

    And in the 20 years I have been around these tailgates, I can say that the majority of the patrons are kind and friendly. You'll be hard pressed to find that in the SEC.

3. Steak Sandwiches from Knights of Columbus

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    For all of you food junkies, if you haven't had a steak sandwich from Notre Dame's chapter of Knights of Columbus, you haven't been living.

    Standing in line to purchase one of these mouthwatering sandwiches is a rite of passage for all Notre Dame fans, and it's no wonder why they keep coming back Saturday after Saturday.

    Fans shouldn't be in it just for the sandwiches, though. The proceeds from those delicious sandwiches benefit the Knights of Columbus, which is a charitable organization within the Catholic Church.

2. Visiting the Grotto

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    It's a beautiful sight, isn't it?

    The Grotto at Notre Dame is one of the most breathtaking places on earth. On fall Saturdays, fans line up to light a candle and say a quick prayer at this holy site.

    And while taking it all in during the hours leading up to kickoff is a tremendous experience, viewing it on a quiet, peaceful winter evening is a memory you won't soon forget.

1. Watching the Team Walk from the Basilica to the Stadium

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    Approximately two-and-a-half hours prior to kickoff, fans line the sidewalk from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart to the Stadium.

    After the team attends mass at the Basilica, it is greeted by thousands of cheering fans waiting for their chance to get high fives from players and coaches as they walk to the stadium entrance.

    Watching a young child slap hands with his favorite player during the walk is a heartwarming feeling.

    I remember the overwhelming feeling of bumping fists with Brady Quinn in 2005 as a 13-year-old. I'm sorry if that makes you feel old.