Neither high winds nor pouring rain could dampen spirits at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ 24th annual Tailgate, which took place Oct. 3 before kickoff of the NC State-Louisville football game.
While the event featured popular Tailgate staples like barbecue, college exhibits and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Wuf, there also were a number of new elements. For starters, Tailgate took place in two locations for the first time in the event’s history.
The outdoor experience, featuring CALS exhibits and a DJ, was held under a large tent at the east side entrance of PNC Arena. Among a number of different interactive exhibits, visitors could “meet” live tarantulas at the Entomology Department booth, sample fresh sliced North Carolina apples at the Department of Horticultural Science booth and check out the award-winner quarter-scale tractor built by Biological and Agricultural Engineering students.
The tent remained crowded and festive, despite the less-than-favorable conditions whipping at its sides.
The arena’s club level was host to the indoor experience, which included a traditional Tailgate meal, sponsor exhibits, entertainment and giveaways. Participants could snap a selfie in a photo booth with cardboard likenesses of CALS Dean Richard Linton and North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, sample Howling Cow ice cream and chat with students in the Warren Fellows Program, among many other activities.
During the barbecue lunch, Linton gave brief remarks, along with George Simpson, president of the CALS Alumni and Friends Society Board, and NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson.
“This is a great day for CALS and NC State,” Linton said. “Tailgate is one of my favorite events of the year, along with last night’s CALS distinguished alumni awards event, and I am proud to be dean of this college. I want to thank each of you for all that you do to support CALS and advance North Carolina agriculture.”
Also new at Tailgate this year was the unveiling of a limited-edition CALS T-shirt featuring a unique student design that celebrates agriculture. Proceeds from sales of the T-shirts, which were produced in North Carolina with cotton grown by North Carolina farmers, will benefit the CALS Alumni Enhancement Fund Scholarship.
Tailgate was held in conjunction with the third annual NC State Ag Day, which is hosted in partnership by NC State Athletics, Wolfpack Sports Properties and the college.
Located in the Fan Zone outside PNC Arena, Ag Day featured family-friendly interactive exhibits, agriculture machinery displays and entertainment. As the rain tapered off, visitors crowded the Fan Zone for a chance to sample local foods, play games and take selfies in the TapSnap photo booth.
During the football game, Elizabeth Walsh, a freshman animal science major from Greensboro, was recognized on field as the inaugural recipient of the Ag Day Scholarship. In addition to this annual scholarship, an endowment was introduced during the 2014 event that will leave a lasting legacy for this significant partnership between athletics and agriculture. Throughout the course of the game, individuals involved in the North Carolina agriculture industry were featured in video board segments.
“Through Tailgate and Ag Day, we’re proud to celebrate and honor those individuals who dedicate their lives to improve the health and economy of our state – on and off the farm,” Linton said. “What better way to celebrate North Carolina’s nearly $80 billion agriculture and agribusiness industry than with these two fantastic events?”
– Suzanne Stanard