Food was on the grill and the party was pumping as fans welcomed back the UConn Huskies to Rentschler Field on Saturday.
“One of the highlights of my year, I think for a lot of us, we look forward to tailgating season all year long, honestly,” said life long tailgater Greg Davis.
Spirits were especially high seeing as this was the first time fans were in the stands since 2019 due to a completely canceled season last year. Davis and his group, the Sons of Nutmeg, said they wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“It’s been two long years since we’ve had a game at the Rent so we’re all out here again for another season,” said Davis.
Tom Lovkay is a UConn alum, who prides himself in displaying school cheer. “We’re undefeated in the tailgate in the parking lot. No one can touch us,” said Lovkay.
It’s his 13th season tailgating with friends who have become family and he’s just happy to be back. “We really missed each other during the pandemic. We missed having these events and games to come to. This is everything to us,” said Lovkay.
But with the return of football in the fall, there were some changes. The concession stands are only accepting credit or debit cards and masks are required to be worn indoors.
For visitors who wanted to roll up their sleeves, The Connecticut Department of Public Health, Griffin Health and UConn Health sponsored a COVID-19 vaccine booth.
The changes didn’t discourage visitors. Even those from Holy Cross came to cheer on their team.
“It’s a great way to start off the season. We have a great community at Holy Cross and just the camaraderie we have with UConn makes for an awesome game,” said Holy Cross senior Amanda Wilderman.
Bernie Giovino has been attending tailgates for decades and with the troubles of the past year and half, he’s just happy to continue the tradition.
“We were shut in and it was just miserable really and it’s like being reborn pitcher with people, friends the sun and the sunshine. It’s beautiful,” said Giovino.