Panther fans get ready for annual tailgating fun

The quiet grassy area next to Brookhaven High School known as Panther Park came alive last year before each home football game. A group of parents decided to get together in the park before football games to eat, socialize and, most importantly, cheer on their team.

They began a local tradition that will be even bigger this year than last – Panther Partying tailgating.

“Last year a group of parents came together to make it more organized and more of an event,” said Sunday Holmes, a member of the tailgate team.

Early this year, excited parents met to discuss how to build on their existing tailgate program. The group wanted to make the event more assessable to everyone.

“We wanted to plan activities so any person could show up and have something to do even if they don’t have their own plans,” said Holmes.

The parents decided to have a theme for each of the six home games.

Brookhaven will play their first game this Friday against Franklin County and tailgating will be “Party with the Panthers.” Set-up will begin at 4 p.m. and activities will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The Pride of Ole Brook’s drum line will perform, cheerleaders will be painting faces, the Panther mascot will be there for pictures and the football team will march through the park at 5:45.

Tailgate team member Christy Sheppard said that the tailgates are a way for all Panther fans to come together and have fun. She added that it will be a family-friendly event that brings all tailgaters together for one big party.

“It’s a great positive thing for our school district,” said Holmes. She added that last year the park had anywhere between 150 to 500 people tailgating before each game. She said she hopes even more people to join in this year’s festivities.

The rest of the Panther Tailgating schedule includes:

Aug. 29, Pig out with the Panthers:  Kids are invited to make Panther shakers, and band boosters will be selling food.

Oct. 3, Pink. Pride. Pizza: Fans are encouraged to bring their own pizza, and the tailgate will honor breast cancer survivors.

Oct. 17, Ole Brook Homecoming: Panthers from all graduation classes are invited to come together and enjoy dinner prepared by the BHS Band Boosters.

Oct. 24, Picnic with the Panthers:  Fans are encouraged to bring a picnic basket.

Nov. 7, Senior Night: The event will honor senior football players, cheerleaders and band members before their last home game.

For more information about Panther Park Tailgating, follow Brookhaven Panther Proud on Facebook or one of the Brookhaven school district’s Parent Teacher Association Facebook pages.