Penn State Football: 5 Best PSU Traditions Every College Football Fan Must Do
The Penn State game-day experience can be soaked in a variety of ways. In truth, there is no wrong way to get the most out of your Saturday pilgrimage to Happy Valley. The same may be said for any college football Mecca throughout the country.
Many of the Saturday routines shared throughout the college football landscape may be similar, so we are looking to find something a little more than tailgating. But...
Penn State Tailgating Is Something Else
You cannot escape tailgating at Penn State. So we must mention it.
The parking lots fill up hours before the kickoff, and the aroma of steaks, burgers, hot dogs, sausages and a whole lot more engulf the area surrounding Beaver Stadium. Tents line the lanes between parking rows, games are set up, footballs are tossed, music is played and yes, a few beverages will be consumed.
The tailgate parties range in size from two buddies reading the newspaper, flipping through a program and listening to the radio pregame show to massive buffets featuring a fine menu that changes each week.
Go ahead, kill some time by walking around the parking lot and seeing what everyone has to offer. Say hello, share a hot dog and make some new friends.
Get a Couple Scoops at the Creamery
When you are done with your pregame meal, why not take a walk over to the the Berkey Creamery, home of what has been called the best ice cream in the country?
The fresh ice cream comes in a good variety of flavors. You can even place an order to have some delivered to you, so you do not have to worry about it melting while you are inside the stadium watching the game and during the long drive home.
What is your favorite flavor?
Visit the Nittany Lion Shrine
Photo: Penn State Live
You had your pregame meal and you capped it with some ice cream. While you are out and about, you may as well walk over to get your photo taken with the Nittany Lion shrine—a popular destination for many every Saturday.
The shrine is considered by some to be the central heart of the university and a symbol worth protecting through thick and thin. Rival fans once mapped out plans to paint the mascot, causing Penn State faithful to make camp and protect it from vandals at all costs.
Do Some Pregame Shopping Downtown
If you still have some time to kill before making your way in to the stadium, or if you are looking for something to do before heading home, then walking downtown is a must.
Stores do plenty of business on game day. Whether you stop in at McLanahan's, further down the street at the Family Clothesline or even if you check in at the student book store, you are sure to find a number of items to max out your credit card and empty your wallet.
If you happen to show up on Friday and stay the night in town or do not leave until Sunday, then take advantage of the Friday or Sunday shopping hours to avoid some of the heavier store traffic.
Catch the Blue Buses
Photo: Kevin McGuire
One of the coolest scenes to witness leading up to a Penn State home game is the team's arrival on the blue school buses. As the buses roll up the street and turn toward the team's entrance at the end of the stadium, the buzz grows as the buses come in to view.
Car horns from the tailgaters go off, welcoming the team. The fans get things started with a rousing welcome for their players and coaches as they come to a stop, and that day's starting quarterback leads the team off the bus and in to the locker room.
Not sure what time the buses will arrive? Ask anyone along the outside of the stadium, be it the information kiosk, visitor's center or the nearby tailgaters. Also, keep an eye out for a student holding up a reminder with the time the buses are expected to roll up.
After that, head in to the stadium, grab a Pepsi or hot chocolate and a hot dog and prepare to watch the Penn State Blue Band provide the pregame entertainment leading in to the game.
What did we miss? Add your game-day traditions in the comment section below.
Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast, managing editor of Nittany Lions Den and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your Google+ circle.