Getting a bit tired of sitting on your couch or in a bar to catch up on the latest college football games? How does going to a full-blown tailgating party outdoors in Evans sound?
Just in time for the rivalrous game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators on Oct. 28, Columbia County is giving everyone an opportunity to get outdoors and congregate in front of a giant screen to watch some games — and it’s all free.
Game Day at Lady A transforms Evans Towne Center Park into a destination where you’ll want to gather your friends, family and neighbors to have a good time and watch some ball. On the screen that day will be two games — a noon game, and the 3:30 Florida-Georgia game. The game that shows at noon will depend on crowd favorites, depending on what team’s fans show up.
One of the best parts? The county is allowing people to bring their coolers — and, yes, you can actually bring your own alcohol in those coolers.
“Absolutely, people can bring liquor and beer,” said Community Events Manager Rachael Enfinger said. “We’re asking them if they’re going to do that to avoid bringing glass because that’s a hazard afterwards. Because it is a public park, we don’t want anything left out there that could hurt anybody. We also don’t want anybody rolling a keg in, but certainly bring cans, bring liquor — just pour it in something (that’s not glass).”
People who go out to Game Day also are invited to go early and set up tents and grills, to make it a full tailgating experience (though parking will not be allowed on the field this year, to avoid safety issues).
“We’ll have ash bins for people to dispose of charcoal or ash from their grills, and our parks and recreation staff is going to maintain those,” said Community Events Specialist Anna Mae Masi. “So they don’t even have to worry about where to dump charcoal.”
Along with normal park amenities for people to enjoy — such as the dog park and playground — there will be a goal post set up with some footballs for people to throw around and some tailgate games like cornhole, as well as Chadder Box Concessions food truck and alcohol to purchase from Tip Top Taps.
The county is putting its focus on bringing more free or close-to-free events for the whole community to enjoy, after spending 2016 gathering feedback and figuring out what events people really loved throughout the year. Game Day at Lady A first took place last October, but it wasn’t even going to come back for a second year.
“It wasn’t the original plan to do it again this year, but the overwhelming response was that people wanted it back,” Enfinger said. “So if we can get a good crowd out there again, I think this would be an annual event that the county continues to get behind.”
Masi said people got excited about Game Day in its first year, seeing hundreds turn out.
“Last year, one of the coolest parts about this event was, you had a few people come out in the morning and set up their tents and their tables and get their chairs all set up so they could see the screen, and once they realized how great this event was, they were calling their neighbors, and their neighbors were coming out,” Masi said. “It was really an interesting community togetherness. People were just calling people, and they were heading out to the park. And we’re hoping for that again.”
So go, watch football, be merry — and be on the lookout for the increase in more free or inexpensive events in the future from Columbia County.
Game Day at Lady A is presented by REC TEC Grills and sponsored by Sparkle Express and Security Federal Bank. Visit evanstownecenterpark.com for more information.