Tennessee Tailgate | Knoxville, TN

Tennessee, what a love hate relationship we have! The last several years have been tough for Tennessee fans to say the least. My family and I are not fair weather fans though. We have endured the good and the bad together. This weekend was just a prime example of the BAD. The VERY BAD.

The Tennessee/Florida game has become a traditional game to attend in Knoxville ever since my brother started dating (and eventually marrying) a Gator (Melissa). It has also become a tradition to eat dinner together, on the Friday night preceding the game at The Chop House, in West Knoxville. We enjoyed our dinner Friday night, as always, and ended up meeting friends downtown afterwards. We met our Covington crew for libations in Market Square at Scruffy City Hall. If you ever make it to Knoxville, I highly recommend checking out the Market Square area. There are so many awesome restaurants and bars in downtown Knoxville!


Necklace: Kitzi from Patina | Clutch: HOBO (on sale) | Bracelets: The Styled Collection

When we go to Knoxville, we make a special trip to see Evan’s Granny. Since it was a late game this year, it gave us plenty of time to go visit with her Saturday morning. She had all three of her Covington grandkids in town, and you could tell how much that meant to her. We enjoyed sharing pictures and updating her on our busy lives.

My dad has owned season tickets and a parking pass for as long as I can remember. If you know us, you know this already, but my dad always parks in the same spot in the parking lot. Most years that’s true, but sometimes someone beats us to the spot. It makes it easier for people to find us when we park in the same spot year after year. This year someone beat us there, so we just parked a few spots away.

Tailgating in the south is pretty much an all day affair. We typically start the tailgate 4-5 hours before game time and sometimes stay for a while after the game too, waiting on the traffic to die down. Some of us just enjoy socializing and grazing over the food table, while others make a trip to the book store or Vol Walk.

Checkerboard Table Runner: Amazon Prime | Metal Utensil Holder: Party Swizzle

Believe it or not, the McGowan tailgate started out pretty small. In the early years, my parents would just bring a bucket of chicken and subs from a local sandwich shop. It has grown so much over the years. We always start our tailgate with the basics, but friends always end up bringing extra appetizers, so we have more than enough for everyone who stops by.

Tailgating Essentials:

  1. Grill (and grilling essentials such as utensils, tinfoil, lighters, charcoal, etc.)
  2. Tent(s)
  3. Table(s)
  4. Cooler(s)
  5. Hand Sanitizer
  6. Trash bags
  7. Chairs
  8. Food
  9. Sternos to keep your food warm
  10. Plates, Napkins/paper towels, Cups, Plastic Silverware
  11. Plenty of Ice

Our Menu:

  • Grilled Burgers and Balogna*
  • Hummus and Vegetables
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip and Pita Chips
  • Cheese Ball shaped as a Power T garnished with Grapes and Wheat Thins*
  • Captain Rodney’s Dip*
  • Tennessee Checkerboard Rice Krispies
  • A variety of cookies; including Melissa’s homemade decorated cookies
  • A variety of drinks and water

*McGowan tailgate staple


Game Day Purse: GiGi New York | Jeans and Top: Belle’s Boutique

Although the actual game was awful, we still had a great weekend with family and friends! Will we be going back this year? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be back next year! #VFL

Let me know if you are interested in buying tickets to any upcoming home games!

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