VERY Good Charlotte ...
We know they take their football serious in the south, but we weren't sure what to think about this bi-partisan household. He was sporting a big shiner, and she a giant grin. Their only explanation was on the sandwich board she had hanging from her neck...
But this group of Carolina ladies didn't need to fight with anyone... they kept the peace by leaving the men completely out of the picture! They were sipping cocktails and munching tailgating treats in their festive corner of the lot.
We found fans loading up their grills with a delicious variety of food, froms burgers and dogs to "dirty bird" chickens, cajun boiled crabs to chicken and dumplings to...tacos?
At the Panters Huddle, "Mexico" was the theme of the day as members of "Carolina's Premier Fan Club" wore sombreros, drank margaritas, and talked smack about the Falcon's Michael Vick beneath beachy palapas.
In all, the overwhelming atmosphere in this tailgating lot was one of fun, friends, and family. Couples partying together, generations grilling together... we saw more women at this single tailgate than we have the whole season!
From friendly parking attendants in the tailgating lots to the tented, catered corporate affairs on the lawns surrounding the stadium, everything about the Carolina tailgating experience said "class". Now we know what they mean by southern hospitality.
The Panthers have done a great job of creating an entertainment experience that is fun for everyone, and Charlotte has understandably embraced them because of it!
When it was time for the Taste-off, we recruited our neighbors in the lot, Rick Brady and Adam "Bonanza" Burkett, who had spent the entire day drinking beer in lawn chairs in the bed of their pickup truck, to be our unbiasied panel of judges. (We were concerned about what all that beer would do to them on an empty stomache!)
They gave each entry careful consideration (even going back for seconds on more than one occasion) before rendering their verdict.
And while the crowd waited with baited breath, our new friend Clay spread that Panther spirit, handing out beads and bumperstickers to his fellow fans.
Adam and Rick awarded the Explorer Grill to Dal Luke, and Julie Hines took home a Cast-iron Dutch Oven for her chili.
After awarding the prizes and holding our drawings for Pie Irons from Rome, Roasting Forks from Camp Chef, and mini helmets from FantasyFootball.com, we took a walk around the stadium, meeting great fans everywhere we went.
That sounds like a quadruple threat to us. For a young team in a smallish market, they've got nothing but great things ahead.
So at the end of day, when we ran into Santa, there was really only two things to ask for...
He delivered early on the win for Carolina, and is holding us a seat on the sleigh to take us home on Christmas Eve!
Photo of the Week !
Coffee "On the Go!" These Ghostbuster look-a-likes were on the prowl for the caffeine deprived. They scoured the parking lots for the one fan that needed coffee the most, and finally found Karen. Truly, a great start to a great tailgate!
Extreme Fans !
Clay is the ultimate Panthers fan. He gives out beads and makes his own stickers, seat cushions, and Panther fleece blankets. As a true Superfan, Clay decided to try and convince Karen to become a Panther fan by donating one of his blankets to the Tour. Thanks!
And Clay's car is as Panther-ific as he is! With decals from fender to bumper, and a tailgating canopy that pops up out of the back end!