The reviews are in and they’re looking good for Aggie football’s new game-day experience, including the Kickoff Street Party three hours before every kickoff — which means a 3 p.m. party start for the game this Saturday (Sept. 24) when UC Davis hosts Weber State of Utah.
The Kickoff Street Party debuted Sept. 10 before the Aggies’ first home game of the season: a 52-35 victory over Southern Oregon, in front of a crowd of more than 5,400.
It was dubbed a Throwback Game, in celebration of old traditions, but it also introduced new traditions like the pregame party in front of the main entrance to Aggie Stadium.
The Davis Enterprise, in its Sept. 11 edition, ran a story under the headline: “Stadium environment had something for everybody,” by staff writer Bruce Gallaudet.
“It was a spirited celebration,” he wrote. “UC Davis welcomed its 2016 football edition with a festival outside the stadium that included music, tailgating, food trucks, vintage cars and bounce houses for little fans.
“Inside, there was a new feel, too. Food and light refreshments are allowed inside Aggie Stadium. An upgraded concessions menu — featuring a kid’s meal, neat desserts and chicken nachos, among other tasty treats — has been introduced.
“An added bonus is that after home games, fans are welcome to join the players on Jim Sochor Field.” The Aggies revived this tradition from the university's old football stadium, Toomey Field.
This Saturday’s game will be the first after school starts, giving most students their first opportunity to attend the Kickoff Street Party. “The students would be all over this. Too bad they weren’t back yet,” Williams Ryles of Winters told The Enterprise at the Sept. 10 game. “I can’t get my kid (Will) off the bounce house. Any suggestions?”
“Actually, William, that was the idea: Come and play games, socialize and enjoy unusual fare from food trucks before a good nonconference game,” Gallaudet wrote.
Added bonus for little Aggies
Jenny (Lloyd) Seacrist ’00 and Scott Seacrist ’01 attended the Kickoff Street Party with their little Aggies: Whitney, 7, and Spencer, 4.
“Having additional activities and games for the kids was a bonus,” Jenny Seacrist told Dateline UC Davis. She said she and her husband especially liked seeing one of Unitrans’ vintage double-deckers — after all, Jenny and Scott met when they both worked for Unitrans.
“My kids also loved getting to run across the field at halftime,” she said. “That was quite a treat that we found out about at the street party.”
Enterprise columnist Bob Dunning had this to say about the whole experience Sept. 10: “Before the game there were all sorts of activities for kids and families, during the game the Aggie offense provided more fireworks than the Fourth of July, and after the game people were allowed onto the field of play to congratulate their local heroes.”
Dunning also liked the easing of the rule that previously prohibited people from bringing any outside food into the stadium. “Instead of stern guards confiscating Subway sandwiches from distressed fans entering the game, there were instead smiles on faces as outside food was actually allowed into the hallowed premises.”
Dunning reported on hearing from one person who said he hadn’t seen so many people having fun at an Aggie football game since the long-ago days of Toomey Field. “Funny what friendly, helpful security folks and 52 points on the scoreboard can do to make us all fans again … let the good times roll.”