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Serious Tailgating: BHS supporters organizing home-game parties

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Jason Michael Holmes (from left) and Addison Brady show their Panther pride at the recent "Meet the Panthers" gathering on King Field at Brookhaven High School Aug. 15. Parents and other Panther boosters are orchestrating tailgating events for every BHS home game this football season.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Jason Michael Holmes (from left) and Addison Brady show their Panther pride at the recent “Meet the Panthers” gathering on King Field at Brookhaven High School Aug. 15. Parents and other Panther boosters are orchestrating tailgating events for every BHS home game this football season.

Expectations run high – not just under the Friday night lights of the Brookhaven High School Panthers’ football field, or King Field – but in “Panther Park,” where parents and other boosters will be orchestrating tailgating events for every Panther home game this football season.

While tailgating is a tradition, and no serious football fan is without some particular recipe for such gatherings, the organizers of this year’s festivities have taken it to a whole new level.

A coalition of parents from the Brookhaven School District community has created a lineup – a tailgating schedule of events and themes for every home game that the Panthers play in this year.

The “Panther Partying” fun will begin on Sept. 6, just before BHS takes the field to battle the Jaguars of North Pike.

Christy Sheppard is one of the parents and a key organizer of the events this year. She describes the genesis of the tailgating idea: “This year the parents and the boosters wanted to be more organized. We had a rough year last year and wanted to do everything we could to turn it around and make a district-wide effort to get together.”

In total, there will be five tailgating sessions that correspond with each Panther home game. For each game, tailgate organizers have come up with a different event, as well as different food items, to satisfy the taste buds of the Panther faithful all season long.

On various nights during the season, when Ole Brook happens to be playing at home this year, tailgate chefs will prepare food selections all the way from cupcakes to pizza to chilidogs.

Homecoming night is always a special occasion, especially for graduating high school seniors, so the tailgating fun Oct. 11 will include a whole lot of pulled pork sandwiches, as part of a “Panther Pig-out.”

By the end of the year, the festivities will culminate with something for the serious tailgater; the one who has been taking notes the entire season. Just before the last home game of the season, the tailgate organizers will put on and participate in a wing cook-off. Appropriately, the Panthers will battle the Falcons of Wingfield that Friday night.

Food will not be the only thing going on at the tailgate events. Participants will be able to get their picture taken with both Panther mascots, and the Panther cheerleaders plan on painting the faces of Brookhaven fans.

Details continue to emerge as parents and boosters coordinate their efforts. In the near future, organizing members hope to include local restaurants and businesses in the area in the tailgating fun. For now, the idea is still in its infancy. Certainly, as the football season progresses, there will be even more delicious tailgating ideas in the future.

“We will see how things go and progress from there. This is a great way to renew, and revive, our Ole Brook,” says Sunday Holmes, one of the parents involved in the tailgating plans.