The Harvard-Yale tailgate could be heard from across the river as thousands of students joined in the revelry outside Harvard Stadium. Tailgaters encountered a flurry of activity, including cheering crowds, students playing banned vuvuzelas, and packed food tents.
But the pre-game event drew mixed reactions from students as many reflected on the changing nature of the festivities.
Organizing the tailgates were Harvard House Committees, the Yale College Council, and social organizations.
The HoCo tailgates drew large crowds and boasted attractions such as Eliot’s face painting station and Mather’s “Crunk Time” clock.
“It was sort of great to get the Houses together in one place,” said Michael K. Oberst ’12, Lowell HoCo’s merchandise manager. “I would say that every House has something going for it.”
In addition to the Crunk Clock, Mather once again unfurled its highrise tower. Pforzheimer’s polar bear mascot danced as HoCo members and House tutors served chili. While Leverett offered apple cider and champagne, Currier’s theme was “come get some wine and beer.”
HoCos sought to “keep the energy up while staying within the rules,” said Allison L. Sikora ’11, Leverett House Committee co-chair.
Many HoCos organizers expressed frustrations with this year’s event regulations.
“One restriction that I thought was particularly over the top was having no kegs. We were allowed to serve beer, which was fine, but we were only allowed to serve it in cans,” Oberst said. “It’s not very green.”
What many students perceive as more stringent tailgate regulations result from a 2006 decision by the Boston Police department to bring enforcement of rules at The Game in line with other area sporting events. Many attribute this to numerous hospitalizations and alcohol-related violations at the 2004 home event.
“It was the Boston police who were basically running the show,” Oberst said.
Cara M. Sprague ’11 of the Pfoho HoCo humorously described Boston as a “Puritan area,” but recalled the safety concerns that gave raise to today’s stricter rules. “We deal with what we have,” Sprague said.
Yale’s tailgate drew a different, but related, set of criticisms. Common complaints included limited space, need for 21+ bracelets to drink, lack of beer, and time constraints.
“I did tailgate last year at Yale—it was so much better. Things got rowdy and we had U-Hauls and free-flowing beer. Harvard ran out of beer,” said a junior from Yale, who declined to give a name.
“It’s so crowded I got lost in there,” said Chelsea S. Link ’12, describing Yale’s tailgate at the Harvard game as less organized than the Harvard side.