Welcome to Aggro-Tourism, EDSBS's roaming safari tour of all those foreign cultures that spring up on fall Saturdays, right here in America. Now playing: The World's Largest Outdoor
Coke Orgy Cocktail Party.
Photo courtesy of sallykitty83
We've assembled a crackerjack team of Florida and Georgia panelists to guide neophytes and continuing-education drunkards through the cracked-asphalt jungle of Jacksonville, and we're thrilled to report they've set several benchmarks for the EDSBS Bureau of Aggro-Tourism. For one thing, this is the first time we haven't had a single comment about the actual in-game experience in over twenty fans' stories, which is both right and proper for a tailgating column and hideously appropriate given the state of our fair conference this year. For another ... well, just scroll down to the train story. We may have to retire this feature, because the final story in this post will never be topped for sheer Spicy Livin' outside of the silver screen or our own imaginations.
SHIT TYRONE GET IT TOGETHER.
There is nothing clean about this hate. It's mean, nasty, and unrelenting.
Sure, most football gamedays have RVs, but in Jacksonville, it's different. These are equal numbers of Bulldog and Gator fans who've been camped out in Jacksonville since Monday or Tuesday...the place is literally like a small city. Another different ripple added to the fold is the fact that the game is neutral, so you've got more or less equal numbers of both fanbases. This provides a different atmosphere than most home and home rivalries and engenders so much trash talking between strangers. When folks tailgate at away games, they're generally cordial because they're outnumbered...when both fanbases feel like they're at home, though, it makes for some interesting confrontations.
It's also fair, though, to say that a large portion of the partying during the week goes on elsewhere. Georgia fans like to stay at St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and other locales in the state of Georgia, only venturing into "enemy territory" on the actual day of the game. (I believe Fernandina Beach is officially annexed by the state of Georgia just for that weekend, as well.) St. Simons is wild both before and after the game. They even have special viewing areas for fans that have just come down to party and aren't even going to Jacksonville.
Thursday and Friday classes are under mandatory suspension during Florida week so that the Bulldog nation can make their way down to St. Simons Island and Jacksonville to begin the debauchery. St. Simons Island, GA can be described as the last bastion of the Bulldog Nation before they take the plunge into Jacksonville. Saturday morning is like a scene from Lord of the Rings as countless waves of charter buses come down 1-95 and raid Jacksonville and yes, heavy drinking is done on the ride down.
Photo courtesy ANONYMOUS DONOR
PARK YOUR ASSES.
The thing about Jacksonville that sucks the most is transportation to and from the game and parking. There are parking lots adjacent to the stadium, but they are only for permit holders, so don't even try to make your way there. There are a couple of first-come, first-serve grass lots less than a block from the stadium (on Parker and Victoria Street, I think), but traffic flow away from the stadium after the game is horrific. About 99% of people are leaving via I-10, and there's only one way to get there, and those pay lots are at the very end of the line. (In other words, by the time you get to I-10, it'll be time to turn around and go back to tailgate for next year's game)
For anyone heading to the game on gameday who will be driving in from the north, the biggest wisdom I would impart would be to avoid the main exit for the stadium at all costs (that's exit 353B Union St., I believe). This puts you in downtown Jacksonville and the one way streets very quickly turn into a parking lot. Getting there just a little late can very easily cause you to sit in traffic and miss tailgating for a solid two hours or more. Instead, get off a few exits earlier at exit 354A, MLK Pkwy. MLK is four laned and divided, and if you follow it, it will put you out north/northwest of the stadium (in easy walking distance) where you can then exit off and find a parking lot for generally pretty cheap (10-20 bucks). It also puts you out conveniently close to RV city.
Your best parking bet is to park on a one-way street downtown. Street parking there is free, and if you get there early enough, you can get a spot on a road that is sufficiently close to the main streets to provide quick egress, while still being a reasonable walking distance to both the stadium and the Landing. I would shoot for a spot on Adams or Monroe St. between Liberty and Main.
we go over near van buren just north of the stadium each year. old houses that let you have bathroom access. plus there is this shady guy across the street that cooks a mean batch of ribs. there is also a house that was/is full of animals. this dude has all sorts of birds and such. one year we lost a friend and looked up to see her standing in the window w/ a macaw on her shoulder w/ the animal dude holding a raccoon beside her. i don't even have time to get into the lizards or pelicans. i really am not making any of this up.
Jacksonville does operate shuttles to and from the Landing and other areas if you parked there. It's convenient during pregame, but don't even try after the game... just walk. It'll take longer to wait for a free bus than just walking the mile or two to your car. (And thousands of people will be walking, too, so even though you have to trudge through a dimly-lit poor neighborhood, it's still relatively safe due to the numbers.) There is also a water taxi, but the lines are even longer for that. If you just want to ride around the river, it can be fun to check it out during the day before the game.
Quoth intrepid reader verdigo who sent this in, "You should note the EDSBS shirt I’m sporting in the picture as well."
Something about tailgating in Jacksonville at the WLOCP just forces me to switch up and go with liquor. I would advise anyone else to do the same.
The City of Jacksonville hosts a website, http://www.flga.org/ and that site has lots of information on the events happening in the days leading up to the game, along with some parking information. It's mostly useful information.
Open Container laws are non-existent (unless you have a real dick head cop) and the drunkenness is unrivaled. No subject or group is taboo to talk trash to at the Cocktail party. Men, women, children, the bands, the players, the flag line, peoples tailgates, etc are all fair game to catch verbal abuse, and when I mean abuse, I mean the "De-fax-We're-Taking-Away-Your Kid" kind of abuse.
i have very fond memories of halloween being a grandparent holiday cause mom and dad were at the cocktail party. i say this because you can't talk about the ga/fla game without really understanding how long generations of families have been going to this game. it is a fall vacation/meet up/reunion for lots of georgia fans i know. we even made it when we were dead broke living in montana (thank you lame duck zooker for the win).
Located directly between the stadium and the river is where the City of Jacksonville always hosts their official tailgate. It's free to enter, and it's a lot like the SEC FanFare that happens at the Georgia World Congress Center before the SEC Championship Game. There's food and "fan events" like meeting famous people, autographs, games, etc. In addition, they always set up 2 big-screen TV viewing areas, so if you want to watch Gameday and other games from around the country, that's the place to go. (If you don't have tickets, this is the place to watch the game on the big screens for free.) Because it's free to get in, though, you usually have to pay to do anything other than watch TV.
The Bulldog and Gator alumni associations always do their own official tailgates with food and music, as well, and they are open to the public for an admission fee. They're usually located just outside the corners of the stadium on the side closest to the river.
There is a long fence line that runs near gate 1 into the stadium, and I recall a large Bulldog contingent standing on one side of the fence on chairs, each clutching a handle of cheap liquor. As Georgia fans would walk by, they would give each Georgia fan a straight shots out of the bottles as it was poured down their throats. An alcohol soup kitchen.
IN THE LAIR OF THE SPLIT-SIDE STADIUM
halloween is an integral part of the cocktail experience. for our part, on friday we go to the thrift store and you get $20 to buy your spouces/significant other's costume to hit the town in. (pic of my wife wearing gator friendly acid wash and a shirt that reads "nymphomaniac" attached).
Florida fans, of course, will be fully decked out in some combination of jorts & sleeveless shirts, jorts & a Florida jersey with their name on the back, jorts & a Tebow jersey, or the most uncanny one of the bunch, jorts & a Florida basketball jersey.
the biggest rule to live by game week: if you wear red and black, it is really, really hard to get in any serious trouble. the merchants and cities make so much money from all of us throwing cash around and boozing all week that if you don't get violent, it's pretty much fair game (note: this does not pertain to immediately following the game if you are in any way showing you are drunk and angry. short leash for tickets then).
Inside the stadium is a mad house and it's not a place for young ears. I remember a Georgia fan last year that I saw getting told by numerous people that listening to him talk trash was the only reason they were still staying at the game, even while Georgia was getting anally pounded by Tebow and Company.
i entered the stadium for my first wlocp being pushed in a kmart shopping cart with 1/2 a handle of jack under my shirt and was allowed to finish the tallboy in my hand since it was already opened.
BLOGGERS, SUSTAIN THYSELVES.
If you've been to Jacksonville, you'll know that the area around Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (or whatever it's called now) isn't exactly the most tourist friendly. For bars on gameday, lots of people head up to the Landing (which is a decent hike from the stadium) to watch the games. If you want to tailgate at the stadium and then go watch the game at the Landing (or vice versa), you can easily hop on a water taxi for a few dollars and go via river. The taxis will go from the Landing to the Stadium pretty much all day, and some will go across the river to some of the restaurants there as well. I will say, however, that hanging out at the Landing after the game is a bit dicey. Generally, the fans from either school clear out for a while and the Landing turns into a hangout for Jacksonville street trash, but maybe that's your cup of tea.
The Jacksonville Landing always holds HUGE parties on the Thursday and Friday nights before the game, and sometimes earlier, as well. Be careful if you're claustrophobic, though... the Landing is PACKED on those nights.
Remember that one time we were partying at the Landing and it was cool because NO ONE tried to start fights for silly stuff like bumping into them, walking, breathing, having/not having a girlfriend, etc?
Don't party at the Landing.
The Landing has some standard restaurants and a mall-style food court, but it's really the place you party in the days before gameday. There's a Hooters there if that's your thing.
TALES OF INTEREST.
Back when they would sell the 32oz beers at the Landing, we would go up to the food court where they were only $4 apiece. This was also where most of the greek system partied when at the landings. Ill never forget this as long as I live. Upon buying 2 of the big ass beers, a Tri-Delt girl I had hooked up with from BALLS bar at UF saw me and asked if I wanted a "gameday line", as she pointed to their table. Thats when I saw the 6 Orange Adderall lines alternated with 6 Blue Xanax lines.
In 2005, I attended my first FL-GA game. I was going with our usual tailgating group who had said they were camping out for the game. Of nine people, I'm the only sober person who can ferry them from the Landings to the camp site. I assumed the camp site was a stadium parking lot. Instead, I realize we are camping on an abandoned lot.
UF won the game in their orange sleeves. My brother, who was staying with about 15 guys in a house, called to see if he could get a ride home. With an excuse to not sleep again in an abandoned lot, my brother and I fled Jax like the British at Dunkirk.
Once saw a Florida fan do the "chomp" at a Georgia fan at the Landing on Friday night, he was then BITTEN IN THE FACE….. and no one acted concerned or even seemed to notice.
Also in 2009, I saw a guy do a drunk back flip off the Landings escalators and not die.
After a long night drinking on St. Simons, everyone awoke early in time to board the charter buses leaving the island at nine to head down to Jax. My fraternity had purchased kegs and cases of beer for the bus rides, but since the buses are loaded more or less first come first serve, I was stuck on a different bus without beer. Thus, I was forced to crack open my handle of Jack for the ride down. Needless to say, a few short hours later, I was quite possibly the drunkest I've ever been without blacking out. I had a girl taking care of me who thought I was going to be sick, so she asked if I needed to go to the bathroom. Naturally, I took this as her implying she wanted to go to the bathroom with me to hook up, so I answered affirmatively...off to the row of porta-potties we go. We get inside, I make my move, and somehow, she's semi-okay with this. One thing led to another and finally was ended with her realization that she was, indeed, about to have sex with a drunk guy in a porta-potty at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. We decide that she should go out of the john first, so out she goes. Unfortunately for me, she couldn't inform the sixty-year old woman waiting in line next that I was still inside, and I promptly had the door opened up to me zipping my pants with an obvious erection. She screamed, I screamed, pulled the door back shut, and waited it out for the next ten minutes peeking out of the top of the door until she walked off.
While walking the 10 miles from the stadium to get to someones car near the lumber yards, a rather boisterous (read: fat, drunken goatee'd dickbag) Georgia fan wobbling down the sidewalk screaming some variation of "GO FUCK YOURSELLFLSDGoOoODAWGSRABBLERABBLE" while trying to pick a sloppy fight with anyone wearing UF...well anything. Most people, having been to "the show" have seen this in some from or another, let it go. Except one old man. He evidently didn't take kindly to the drunk UGA fan screaming profanities at he & his elderly wife, and decided to take Fatty McCamo hat up on his offer of fisticuffs by punching him square in his face (Gran Torino hadn't be released yet, but he is now & forever will be "Old man Florida fan/Walt Kowalski"). While on the ground, Georgia Unruly tried to get up & was met with several blows from the old guy's cane (a sweet wood number, not a aluminum rite-aid special). His friends, watching in amazement with teh rest of us, didn't dare step in. The old man simply growled "watch your mouth you Georgia son of a bitch" and proceeded to walk, cane assisted, to his car to (I can only assume) attend the Badass Old Man Meeting down by the docks.
A fist fight started between a Georgia fan and a Gator fan amidst a large crowd. There was cheering for both sides and occasionally it looked as though it might pull in a few participants. This isn't rare. This happens all the time. What was odd was how the fight stopped. A giant Miller High Life truck was rolling down the street toward us with many people with cameras following in tow. We're all still watching the fight - what do we care about some photogenic beer truck? Turns out that Windell Middlebrooks, who I'm sure everyone knows better as The High Life Guy was sitting in the passenger seat, hanging out the window talking with people and getting pictures and such. As soon as this was discovered, the residents of greater Duval county and beyond immediately dropped any interest in the fight and became starstruck. Maybe 30 seconds later, the fighters themselves finally heard that the huge celebrity, High Life Guy, was here! They could not disengage from their fracas quickly enough to go and meet this guy. Florida fan had a ripped shirt, Georgia guy had a bleeding cut on his face, neither of them cared. They had to meet him.
i have had uniforms kindly ask me (repeatedly) to stop participating in a spontaneously created game called "street bowling" where you take a bowling ball and see who can hit the storm drain from the greatest distance in old town fernandina, i posed naked w/ officers (2 male/1 female) after i purified myself and jumped in the ocean after the 2007 game.
Co-worker received a hermaphroditic blow-up doll as a birthday gift (yes, you read that correctly). I asked him if I could use take it to the upcoming FL-GA game and he happily obliged. Friends and I bought UGA hot pants and t-shirt for her and aptly named her Georgetta. We made three signs for her to hold at the tailgate, which was on the main drag around the stadium:
- "Do you Knowshon….I KNOWshon"
- "Larry Munson’s illegitimate daughter"
- "Dawgs like it both ways"
Nearing game time, a group of UGA fans stole her out of my friend’s hands. They pierced her and attempted to burn her. Me, being full of Jim Beam, walked straight to where I last saw her and got her back. I got my hand stepped on purposely and was kicked by a UGA woman in her 50s. Seriously.
We patched her (because she came with a kit, yo) and put her back out. They stole her a second time as we were packing up the tailgate and this time the flame didn’t stop until she floated away above the bridge with the size and movement of a dead leaf. I miss her/him.
Some of the security folk are fortunate enough to be given the reins of what can be only be considered luxury transportation (in Jville anyway), a golfcart. Apparently some four Gator fans, understandably excited after their win, decided that a spin in one of these carts was their victory trophy by right. Somehow they all got a hold of one - two up front and two sitting on the back seat that actually faces backwards. They start driving around through the dirt parking lots with this lone security guy chasing them. Quite a sight. Oh, and did I mention that they brought their beer cooler with them? Wedged between the two guys in the back seat was a fairly large cooler (for being crammed into a golfcart already carrying four people) that they were periodically grabbing Natty Lights out of and handing to their compatriots. In addition to returning the yells though, the two guys in back with their cooler would then put all their weight down so the golfcart would do a wheelie (for about four seconds anyway). I watched that happen at least three times, convinced they were going to lose it each time. Predictably fueled by alcohol, they amazingly didn't crash as far as I know. I choose to believe that golf cart is still going somewhere over the horizon, and just behind it a gentlemen in a CSC Event Staff vest trudges ever onward after it.
My best friend is a train fanatic. It's disturbing. The man had a Microsoft Train Simulator. This was not an exciting game.
In 2001, while walking to a liquor store in a questionable part of Jax, we came across some tracks about 1/4 mile from our hotel. The wheels start turning. We get back to Athens and he locks himself in his room. He comes out with satellite images of railyards, schedule tables, and pictures of engines and various cars. He's hopping a freight train to Jacksonville in 2002. He wants me to come with him. He was no stranger to this - he constantly hopped from Athens to Abbeville, SC and back. But. . . this. This was going to be his Mona Lisa. My rail experience consisted of taking MARTA to Hartsfield on occasion.
A year later we give our bags to a friend that's driving down and we're dropped off outside a railyard in Athens around midnight. We hop a fence and start looking around. He knows what train to hop because he has the engine number of the one we're looking for. This guy couldn't figure out the UGA bus system, but could find out which freight train to illegally hop to go to the Cocktail Party. After hiding in some scrub, we hop on once it starts moving. He says for the most part we'll be doing between 5 and 65 mph, but once we get south of I-20, we'll spend some time in excess of 80. After an interminable (yet scheduled) layover in Waycross and a train transfer, the last leg seems to take forever. He starts checking landmarks and rail switches, blah, blah, blah until he tells me it's time to get off. The only problem is that the train is going much, much faster than it was when we got on. He informs me it's not slowing down again until roughly Tampa. The trick is to kind of roll into the landing. At 1:45 a.m. Friday morning, our friend answers the door at the hotel to find the two of us, completely black from grime. It only took us about 23 hours what a Ford Explorer accomplished in 6.
Then we fucking lose.
A godzillion realest-bitches-alive daps to our WLOCP correspondents: Hoots, Navydawg, hailtogeorgia, mlmintampa, ANONYMOUS DONOR, Brock, sallykitty83, VineyardDawg, Silver Britches, SECWasteManagement, bba, Shawn, Hogtown Beatdown, Bourbon_Meyer, and verdigo. Stay hydrated, lawyas.