By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Tailgaters at Mississippi State University will have extra services to make their experiences more enjoyable this year.
Anticipating big crowds, MSU officials have implemented changes designed to improve traffic flow and visitor safety for the 2010 season, which begins Saturday when the Bulldogs welcome Memphis.
“We are excited about this season and we are excited about people coming on our campus to tailgate,” said Jim Jones, chairman of the MSU Game Day Committee. “We are going to increase shuttles, decrease traffic, make tailgating supplies more accessible and make things easier for our RV travelers.”
A notable change will be improved safety around the Junction, one of the most popular tailgating areas on campus.
Heavily traveled Stone Boulevard, which runs off the Junction, will be closed three hours before game time to alleviate traffic where fans will be walking.
Fans also will be able to buy food from a new Junction Grill, and a new tailgating supply tent will have charcoal and other picnic accessories for sale.
A mobile trailer will be set up to sell jerseys, T-shirts and other Bulldog apparel, holding down the crowds in the bookstore.
In previous years, those who traveled by RV and didn’t reserve a spot had to park in locations that didn’t have full RV hookups.
But this year the horse park on South Montgomery Street, just south of campus, will provide parking places with full hookups for those without reservations.
Shuttles also will be provided for those docked at the horse park who want to ride to the game. The shuttle route from downtown to the Junction also will be extended from two hours before the game to three hours before.
With the new comes the old, as in the return of “legal” cowbells.
The Southeastern Conference had banned artificial noisemakers from conference games, a prohibition that included cowbells.
This year, however, the ban has been lifted with some restrictions. Cowbells can now be rung at the football games during pre-game activities, timeouts and half-time, and when he Bulldogs score.
“The cowbells are a Mississippi State tradition,” said Jones. “Everyone is glade they are back on campus. We want people to ring them responsibly.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.