Monday, January 12, 2009

Well, the tailgating was fun

I'm sure you've read enough about the Panthers abysmal loss Saturday night to the Cardinals, so I won't dwell on it here.

Instead, let's focus on the hours leading up to kickoff when the city was buzzing with excitement and you couldn't walk 10 feet without tripping over a tailgate in session.

At 6 p.m. a slight drizzle was falling over uptown, but that didn't stop jersey-wearing revelers from sitting out on the patio of Stool Pigeons -- from the looks of it, there was no room inside.

Farther north on Church Street, it was a family-friendly environment as kids tossed the football with dads -- but approaching Third Street is where the parties (and the smell of burgers and brats) really got going. 

Picasso's was full by 3 p.m., and two hours before kickoff a line of 30 people stretched out the door. "What's your capacity?" I asked the doorguy. "I don't know, but we're way over."

At the corner of Mint and Third streets, Clear Channel radio had the most rocking tent set up. Three flatscreen TVs showed the Ravens-Titans game while "Baby Got Back" blared from speakers. It seemed like more of a nightclub than a tailgate as one woman gyrated against one of the tent poles.

On the hill on Mint Street, a crowd of people stopped to listen and dance to the Harding High marching band, which is trying to raise $50,000 to march in President-elect Obama's inauguration parade. The band also played halftime at the game.

Elsewhere, I saw DJ Jazzy Jimmy (of Dixie's fame) spinning tunes for a group of dancing tailgaters; a man dressed in a Crown Royal cape and passing out shots of the liquor to passers-by; one well-prepared group pumping shots of Jagermeister out of a bottle; multiple games of beer pong, cornhole and ladder golf; and hundreds of people booing a small group of Cardinals fans who deigned to walk through the party.

The energy of uptown was palpable and, up until about 8:30 p.m., it was fun to be a part of the revelry.

Here's looking forward to next season, guys.