Atmosphere

Illinois is a great place to tailgate, as there is a fun mix of family friendly and college party atmosphere in Champaign. You can feel free to pull out the grill and the portable tv and talk with some of the great alumni of Illinois, many of whom have gone on to very successful careers and present great networking opportunities. Or, you can join in with the students in a case race before the game; whichever you choose you can’t go wrong.

The Illini Walk gives fans a chance to greet their favorite Illinois players as they arrive at Memorial Stadium. Two hours before game time, all of the players and coaches walk from 1st street to the football complex and greet fans along the way.

The best time of year to go is either during the first weeks of the season when Illinois plays cupcake games against other small Illinois state college like State, Eastern, or Western, or during Big Ten conference games such as Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana and Purdue which are all border war games.  The best game of the year comes typically during the last week of the season as Illinois takes on Big Ten in state Rival Northwestern in an Illinois Civil War,  which is when you’ll find the best crowds as everyone hits the stadium to get one last good look at the team before the season ends.

Traditions

Red Grange Statue

Red Grange is a notable figure in the Fighting Illini’s history: in 1924 in a game against the University of Michigan, he scored six touchdowns in the first twelve minutes and was nicknamed the Galloping Ghost. In 2011, he was voted the Greatest Big Ten Icon by the Big Ten Network and is immortalized in a beautiful bronze statue outside the West side of Memorial Stadium.

Illini Walk

The Illini Walk gives fans a chance to greet their favorite Illinois players as they arrive at Memorial Stadium. Two hours before game time, all of the players and coaches walk from 1st street to the football complex and greet fans along the way. It’s a great thing to do for kids who idolize the Illini players, so make sure to check it out during your visit to Urbana-Champaign.

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Illinois Homecoming Game

Every year there is a big parade to celebrate homecoming, which dates back to 1910. It is mostly supported by alumni and maintains a family-friendly atmosphere. Bring your friends because there are lots to see and do. The band, cheerleaders, and Greek life will all be a part of the parade making it well worth your time.

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Illini Street Fest

Two and a half hours before kick-off, the area between Kirby Avenue and Irwin Drive is reserved for the Illini Street Fest. The Fest is free, open to the public, and offers a variety of entertainment such as live performances by the cheerleaders and marching band, as well as a mini golf course and face painting for the kids. This family-friendly tailgate is enjoyable for all who attend Illini games.

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Where to tailgate

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