Despite the fact it rained Saturday morning, and the day’s game against Purdue doesn’t start until after 3 p.m., diehard fans were up early tailgating in parking lots around the stadium.
For serious tailgaters, getting ready takes a lot of planning and setup, including coolers full of food, drinks, TVs, even a satellite system, and plenty of Irish-inspired decorations!
WSBT caught up with people who have earned the title "Master Tailgater."
Darren Fisher from South Bend has been tailgating with close friends for more than a decade. He looks forward to Saturdays in the fall.
"It's the only thing to do on a Saturday, is to come here, tailgate, and get a great Notre Dame victory," said Fisher. His tailgate included eggs and sausage skillets with cold beer and soft drinks, along with several TVs set up in order to watch the pre-game show.
Bruce Albert was out just after 7 a.m. in the parking lot in front of the Joyce Center, putting up several pop-up tents. Fisher is from Lapaz and says tailgating at Notre Dame games has been tradition in his family dating back more than 20 years. His tailgate includes healthy foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, spicy chicken sausage, brats and plenty of cold drinks to wash it down.
But Albert also has his tent decked out with ND decorations. Gold and Blue table clothes with the ND emblem, "Play Like a Champion Today" banners, gold fabric draped around every corner of the tent, a sparkly leprechaun hat hanging from the center of the tent, and even gold tables to eat from.
"When you're a loyal fan like myself, you just want to make it the best and present with your friends and have good beverages, good food and good times," said Fisher as he warmed up the grille.
Albert is expecting some 30 or more people at this tailgate. He says for the Notre Dame game against Michigan he'll have even more people show up.
Despite the excitement over the season home opener, there were several comments from people about the noticeable lack of usual tailgaters. A few parking lot attendants told WSBT that they think the number of tailgaters is down this game from years past. When asked why, they speculated the early morning rain may have given some people a late start, but they also worry that struggling economy could be to blame.