I’ve always admired creative and passionate people. The football fans I met at college campuses across the South are exactly that. They love their teams and families and enjoy celebrating both.

For three months during the fall, many lucky Southerners become college football tailgaters. They pack up their cars, RVs, boats, or buses and make their way to the college campuses of their favorite teams. On game day, they gather with friends and family, dress in sacred colors, and cheer their teams.

Here are some of my favorite examples of team spirit.

On game day in Tuscaloosa, fans and their pets will wear houndstooth with their crimson and white attire. From rain boots and dresses to koozies and tablecloths, the black and white houndstooth pattern will be worn wherever possible! Fans wear the print in honor of the great Paul “Bear” Bryant. Coach Bryant would wear a houndstooth hat on the sidelines during the games. Fans have adopted Coach Bryant’s signature print and will wear a piece of the print on game day.

A few hours before kickoff, Alabama fans will gather by the hundreds to high five players and coaches as they make their way down The Walk of Champions towards Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fans of all ages enjoy the opportunity to see their favorite players and wish them luck before the game!

After the Elephant Stomp, the mini concert that takes place in front of the Gorgas Library in The Quad, the band and cheerleaders lead the way to Bryant-Denny Stadium! When you see the band headed towards Bryant-Denny, you know that it is close to kickoff.

Early season Clemson game days are hot! When temperatures are in the high 80s and 90s, Tiger fans like to cool off before the game. This fan enjoyed a lemonade-based cocktail out of his custom-decorated glass!

Clemson’s school colors are orange and purple. On a Clemson game day, make sure you are wearing one of them! This group of tailagters decided to wear all orange to support their Tigers!

Make sure you pack your purple and gold for game day in Greenville!

ECU fans love cooking whole pigs before a game! Once the meat is cooked, they will turn the skin to cracklins. If you see this sight on a grill, stick around for a few more minutes. It will be worth the wait!

In Greenville, NC, there is plenty of Eastern North Carolina style pork barbecue on game day! This style is characterized by its tangy, vinegar-based sauce.

A seafood boil is an easy way to feed a large crowd! Most boils will either contain crab or shrimp. This group of tailgaters in Jacksonville will have a great meal before the game!

Hot dogs and hamburgers are classic tailgating fare. This grill is ready to feed a crowd before kickoff in Jacksonville.

To easily move from tailgate to tailgate before the Florida-Georgia game, fans from both sides will use golf carts! This group of Florida fans gave their golf cart a custom paint job!

Florida fans and players high five and hug during the Gator Walk! The Gator Walk is the player walk that happens around two hours before kickoff on game day in Gainesville.

Many fans will arrive to their tailgating site early on game day. To ensure that their pig would be done cooking over a spit before kickoff, this group of Gator fans arrived at 2 am on game-day morning!

Gator fans are full of team spirit on game day! This group decided to paint their school colors on before a University of Florida game in Gainesville, FL.

If you see a group of LSU tailgaters gathered around a plywood box, make sure to stop by later on. Chances are, they are cooking a whole pig inside! This is a common sight in Baton Rouge. Many tailgaters will arrive well before 6 am to ensure that they can prepare their elaborate game day spreads before kickoff.

Some fans love to dress up in costumes on game day. These West Virginia and LSU fans couldn’t agree who to cheer for, but had a great time tailgating in Morgantown!

You will find plenty of seafood in Raleigh on game day. This group of Wolfpack fans prepared a crab boil with fresh crabs from the North Carolina Coast.

A close up look at fresh crabs from the North Carolina Coast. When tailgating on campuses near the coast, it is common to see a wide variety of fresh, locally sourced seafood.

Ole Miss fans like to show their school spirit in crafty ways! In The Grove, thousands gather together before heading over to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

In Oxford, you will see lavish displays of food under tents throughout The Grove! Many tailgaters will begin their preparation days before game day. Some of the most elaborate spreads include chandeliers, silver serving dishes, and fine china!

Tennessee’s colors are orange and white. On game day, Knoxville is covered in the Vol’s signature orange color!

Tailgating tables in Knoxville, are covered in orange and white on game day! This tailgater drew inspiration for the game-day menu from Neyland Stadium. Neyland Stadium seats over 102,00 people on game day!

West Virginia fans gather, eagerly awaiting the players to make their way towards the stadium. On game day in Morgantown, the campus and town are filled with fans wearing their old gold and blue.

Pepperoni Rolls are a classic tailgating dish for WVU fans! They are inspired by what miners would bring with them for lunch in the coal mines, and are found on almost every tailgating table on game day in Morgantown.

This Mountaineer fan is decked out in his WVU gear and ready for a full day of tailgating! Fans will find creative ways to dress and show their school spirit on game day. This fan decided that a coonskin cap would complete his look!

First paragraphs from The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South by Taylor Mathis. Text and photographs copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor Mathis. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.unc.edu