Villanova has a reputation for weak, bad or non-existent tailgating on football Saturdays. The rules that govern the pre-game tradition at Villanova have been blamed for the lack of a "big time" environment in the parking lots, like the kind enjoyed at large state schools. Times are changing, however, and over the past few years, the Villanova Football Club (VFC) has pushed to grow the Villanova tailgating culture by setting an example.
The school allows two tailgating zones, the Pavilion lot behind the stadium's North Stand is more permissive but a pass to drive in there is expensive — about $60 per game or $200 for the season — in the East Main (or "Pike") lot is more cost-effective at $20 on gameday, but tailgaters there are not allowed to set up in tents.
Game attendees can park anywhere, however, and walk into one of these tailgate zones to enjoy the festivities with other Villanovans, and the VFC would like you to do just that.
"It's a Division I-A tailgate," Villanova Football Club's Joe Makoid proclaimed. "We started the Villanova football club about five years ago, and it was to build up excitement about Villanova football, fundraising, etcetera. It was a bunch of former players and then we said, 'what have we got to do?' Its got to start with tailgating. We meet people four or five times a year and it centers around tailgating.
"When it started, the first year we raised only $40,000, now we do over $400,000 a year and everything, the social aspect, is around tailgating. Everybody loves it, they can meet people from all the different eras and they go into the games and it just started a whole thing. It's a snowball effect."
The VFC's efforts in the Pavilion lot have grown every from season to season since their tailgate launched, and in true tailgate tradition, they welcome anyone in blue and white with open arms, a burger and a cold brew. Many of their attendees from week-to-week are former Villanova football players, and you might be surprised to meet someone who played for your favorite NFL franchise.
On Saturday, they were by-no-means the only tailgate in town. The Pavilion lot was host to a number of tailgates, both small and large with minimal intrusion from Public Safety or Radnor Police. While tailgating outside a 12,500-seat stadium will never rival the environment surrounding a 105,000-seat stadium, the tailgating at Villanova does exist — if you know where to find it.