FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Thousands of fans packed Baum-Walker Stadium for the highly anticipated regionals.
Before and after the game, the action is outside of the stadium because tailgating is finally back and the hog pen is also open to fans. The lines started building Wednesday so folks could go in and get the best seats once doors opened.
“As soon as they opened tailgating we knew we had to get here early,” said Mike Cleveland, a Razorback fan.
The parking lot opened at 10 am Friday morning for the first-day tailgating was allowed after many months without it.
“We’re finally going to be able to do things as we have always done, and we haven’t been able to do that for a year,” said Bobby “Hognoxious” Smittle.
Tailgating was put on hold because of the health crisis but as restrictions continue to loosen up it’s back along with opening the hog pen for NCAA regionals.
“We have been able to go to full capacity and ease on other restrictions, tailgating is kind of the last that we’re able to do and we are excited to be able to do this weekend for the NCAA Regionals,” said Kevin Trainor, the Senior Associate Athletics Director for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Tailgaters can only take over the grassy area, without going on to the parking spaces and, 10 by 10 tents are the maximum size allowed.
“All you need is a chair, ice chest and music,” said Cleveland.
For many, like Cleveland tailgating allows you to come together and brings about a great sense of community.
“It’s just a fellowship, a friendship, and we like to get here before the players get here so they can see us when they get here, supporting them for every game,” said Cleveland.
A big day for the hogs is also a big day for local restaurants. Foghorn’s which is just across the street from the stadium was a packed house. The manager tells us it’s all hands on deck. On game days the staff expects to see a higher number of customers.
Now restaurants are able to operate back at full capacity. With the weather heating up and vaccinations continuing to roll out, people are feeling more comfortable eating out.
All you have to do is look around, from inside to the patio almost every table is taken.
Folks tell us they have the best seat in the house here, and at the same time, they get to support local businesses.
“We just come and enjoy spending time with friends and family on game day and we want to support the hogs and the university because it’s a big part of Fayetteville and the surrounding areas,” said Lori Sisemore.
Restaurant workers tell us they expect business to be up all weekend because of the game and with folks coming in from out of town.