Auburn Football: What Fans Must Experience During Tigers' Gameday on the Plains
Each college football team carries its own traditions and pre-game rituals. Few stand equal to the gameday experience that lives at Auburn University. There are a number of old and new traditions that fans must experience during an Auburn Tigers gameday on the Plains.
From Tiger Walk to Toomer’s Corner, the city of Auburn and the university that resides there is rich in college football tradition.
The campus is known for its beauty, and the people for their friendly disposition. If you find yourself on the Plains this fall—Auburn fan or no—you must find your way into the living tradition that is the Auburn gameday experience.
One of the first stop in town has to be at Toomer’s Drugs for some Toomer’s lemonade. On a hot fall day it doesn’t get much better than fresh squeezed lemonade from Toomer’s.
Toomer’s has been serving up the lemonade since 1896, and has been a part of Auburn University culture ever since its beginnings. With a diner feel still remaining, and a full menu on hand, the little country drugstore is a must for every fan that makes their way to the Plains on game day.
On top of the food and lemonade, Toomer’s has a shop built into the store, with some great Auburn gameday wear and memorabilia.
The Lovelace Museum is full of history and great Tigers memories. If there are questions that fans have about Auburn history, the Hall of Honor will answer them.
The Jonathan B. Lovelace Hall of Honor was formerly found in the Auburn Athletics Complex near Beard-Eaves Coliseum. When the new Auburn Arena was built, the museum was scaled down and added to the outer ring of the Arena concourse.
Despite the lack of size in the new display, Auburn history still thrives. The Coaches Trophy from the 2010 national title is on display, as well as Pat Sullivan’s Heisman Trophy.
A timeline display containing three “Aubie” costumes lines one of the outer walls of the hall. Add to the mix a walking wall of bowl trophies and commemorative displays and the museum is rich with Auburn football history.
This is a must-see for any fan walking the Plains on game day.
Walk the Tailgates
One of the more unique experiences on an Auburn game day is the tailgating. What used to be an open campus has turned into regulated zones that are strictly enforced.
While the zones that have eliminated some old tailgate spots and received criticism, the rent-a-tent type approach has worked well for the Tigers the past few seasons.
In addition to the tailgating tent city that surrounds Jordan-Hare Stadium on game day, there are R.V. fields that lie on the outskirts of campus. Thursday afternoon the spots are usually getting full.
If a night game is on the agenda, walking the R.V. and tent areas is a great time and adventurous endeavor. There are numerous open-armed hosts waiting to share laughs, food and memories on game day.
Greet the Statues
This spring the Tigers had a very special A-Day ceremony. The Tigers welcomed back the three Heisman Trophy winners back to the Plains to unveil their Heisman statues.
It was a moving ceremony that featured a rare occurrence with all three men in attendance, and forever etched in history the legacies that three amazing football players and men left behind.
One additional but less advertised statue was a bust of former head coach John Heisman, whose name graces the most famous college football award and trophy. Auburn has a unique distinction as being the only school to have been coached by Heisman and also have winners of the trophy.
Stopping by the statue display is a memory that will never leave the heart and mind of an Auburn fan.
As game time approaches, the Tigers will take a historic walk from the Auburn Athletic Complex to the stadium. The football team walks down Donahue Drive which is lined by Auburn fans and a portion of the band all the way to the stadium entrance.
The tradition began in the 1960’s and has inspired numerous other fan type walks in college football. According to AuburnTigers.com, the largest attendance was in 1989 prior to the first Iron Bowl played in Auburn. There was an estimated 20,000 people in attendance.
On an average game day, Tiger Walk will see 7,000-plus fans line the streets. This is the one time that the Tigers fans are able to interact with the Tigers players. This tradition grows the bond between the players and the Tigers faithful.
Watch the Eagle’s Flight
No other tradition in college football can touch the flight of the eagle before Auburn football games. There is plenty of wildlife that is found on college football sidelines, but the eagle flight is by far the most impressive, unguided act by an animal in sports.
Before home games–weather permitting–Jordan-Hare Stadium erupts when the Auburn eagle takes flight. The eagle will circle the field, swooping down around the stands as Auburn fans scream “War Eagle.”
The flight happens right before kickoff, but depending on your gameday routine, it may be something that you miss if you aren’t careful. The flight of the eagle is a must-see for any fan that finds a trip to Auburn on game day in the future plans.
Roll Toomer’s Corner
There are a few traditions in college football that leave opposing fans shaking their heads in confusion. One of those is the rolling of the Toomer’s Corner Oaks in Auburn.
After a win in football–or big win in other sports–Auburn fans take to the streets at Magnolia and College and roll trees with toilet paper.
Rumor has it that the tradition began when Toomer’s Drugstore employees would throw telegraph paper into the power lines to mark an Auburn away victory. When the power lines went underground in the city of Auburn, the fans took to rolling the trees to mark victories.
Despite the poisoning and possible loss of the original Toomer’s Oaks, the tradition will live on in spirit and action.
Local Eats and Drinks
There are a ton of great places to grab a drink and a meal in Auburn, but for the sake of space and time, downtown will be the focus. An occasional trip out of downtown will hit the list. With multiple spots, this list will take a few gameday visits to complete.
When you are downtown on game day and it’s early, breakfast is important. Bazilia’s, Big Blue Bagel and Toomer’s could all make your list. If you are drifting a bit past the main strip, The Barbeque House is the stop to make.
The nightlife in Auburn is where the game days can really finish well.
Bars are abundant, as are the drink deals and atmospheres. Places like Auburn Ale House, Sky Bar, 17/16, Quixotes, Bourbon Street and The Bank Vault will be waiting.To finish the night and the gameday experience that was, make way to the War Eagle Supper Club. The sun will come up shortly.