EASLEY — Starting this season, Easley High School will host a community tailgate party for all varsity football games played at home.
Athletic Director Gill Payne hopes to rebuild the sense of community he fears has been lost by moving the high school to the new location.
“The (new) school is fantastic. It’s a $150 million jewel,” Payne said earlier this week. “But it’s (the school) no longer a centerpiece in the middle of town, and we’re concerned that some of the alumni feel cast out or worse — left behind. We just want to assure people that that’s not the case. This is still Easley High School.”
Payne said the idea for the tailgate came from the notion that on Friday nights, people like to go out to eat, meet up with friends and then head to the game.
By having everything centrally located, Payne hopes to bring out more people and perhaps even start a new tradition for the school.
“We want this to be a family event, something that the entire community can get behind every Friday night,” Payne said. “We’re going to have things like face painting and inflatables for kids, we’re working on getting live bands out here, and maybe free T-shirts or something — depending on how this plays out.”
Concession stands at the stadium this season will limit their sales to just snacks and drinks to accommodate the four local food vendors that have leased spaces.
“We’re going to have some great food,” said Payne. “So far we have Michael’s for pizza, Joe’s for burgers and hot dogs, Bojangle’s, and Easley Smokehouse is planning on bringing out a smoker for barbecue.”
People will also be permitted to bring their own grills and coolers to tailgate outside of the stadium.
The events are being sponsored by Best Chevy and Best Kia, and gates open up at 5:30 p.m. Previously, there was no re-entrance to the stadium once you had left but the A.D. now says that they’re working on a system where fans will be able to come and go.
Easley’s first home game is Aug. 29, when the Green Wave will take on Daniel.