While cheering on the Black Knights at West Point’s Michie Stadium is a must-do for any Hudson Valley resident, just as important — and fun — is tailgating.
“It’s a major part of the fan experience with us on post,” says Hannah Dari from Army West Point Athletics.
Fans can tailgate at their parking spots but can also reserve a premium site through Army West Point Athletics’ new affiliation with The Tailgate Guys. Packages can be as simple as a tent and chairs (fans provide their own food), all the way up to a 20’ by 20’ tent and two 10’ by 10’ tents, full catering, and a DISH TV package.
“We offer three different premium tailgating locations on post: Buffalo Soldier Field, Daly Field, and South Dock,” Dari explains. “The tailgate sites open five hours prior to the start of each game, and close two hours after the final whistle. This gives our fans plenty of time to enjoy both pre- and post-game festivities and make the most of their time with us here at West Point.”
For the ultimate experience, rent the Tailgate Suite at the stadium itself — equipped with DirecTV, interior lights, a bar, high-top tables, a rooftop deck, and more. Included in the Tailgate Suite are 30 tickets to the game, eight parking passes, and basic catering.
No matter your tailgate choice, if you’re attending a Saturday game, kickoff is at noon. So, here’s the plan:
The gates at the United States Military Academy open at 6 a.m. on gameday. That sounds early, but all visitors must present valid identification and are subject to vehicle inspection, so lines do form. If you bring breakfast foods, coffee (and, perhaps, some Bloody Marys), you’ll have time to set up and toss around your own football.
After breakfast, explore the academy’s grounds, or visit the West Point Museum just outside Thayer Gate. If you buy a ticket through Army Athletics, you and your friends can even book a walking tour. Give yourself time to hop onto one of the shuttle buses to Michie Stadium.
Set up in front of the stadium, the alley is a place where fans may visit booths, have their faces painted, and enjoy a bite to eat.
About 20 minutes before kickoff, the 1,000-cadet regiment marches onto the field and a member of the Cadet Glee Club and the Army Band perform the National Anthem. West Point cadets then jump from a helicopter and parachute onto the field, carrying the game ball.
Keep the fun going with a drink at Zulu Time, the rooftop lounge at The Thayer Hotel.
“Our fans not only have the opportunity to attend a Division I college football game, but also experience West Point, the academy, and all it has to offer,” Dari says.
The next home games are Oct. 26, Nov. 9, and Nov. 16. For more information, go to www.goarmywestpoint.com.