Crawford Street UMC congregation to hold tailgate party on Oct. 15

Published 4:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2023

Crawford Street United Methodist is putting a new twist on the southern fall tradition of tailgating.

On Oct. 15, after the church’s Sunday morning worship service, the congregation will be tailgating outside the church.

“We’re going to get our church family together, our neighbors and our neighborhood to join with us so we can get to know them and have a good time and fellowship,” organizer Danielle Warnock said. “Our plan is to get permission from the city to block off a large part of Crawford Street.

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“We’re going to be right out in front of the church on Crawford Street and have tailgate tents set up and some tables providing hot dogs and sweet tea and water,” she added.

Other church members, she said, will bring tailgate-style side dishes and desserts.

“We’ll have some live music, some games for the kids and a cornhole tournament,” Warnock said. “We’ll start at noon after church; we’ll have a casual worship service that day and we’re asking people to wear their school colors.”

The idea for the tailgate, she said, came from the church pastor, the Rev. Tom Potter.

“He just wanted to try and do a neighborhood church-wide fun family fellowship event,” she said. “He does like football and tailgating.”

Potter said the idea for tailgating came when he noticed “something that never happens. All three of the big state schools, Southern Miss, Ole Miss and (Mississippi) State all share the same open date, Oct. 14. We figured since they needed a day off, that was a good excuse for us to have a block party and make it a tailgating event.

“It’s a good chance for a party; it’s going to be nice weather and you know, just get out and be visible and be available and invite the neighbors and have lots of food and there live music and games and stuff like that,” he added.
He said the idea was well-received by the congregation.

“Everybody got excited about it right away,” Potter said. “They hadn’t done anything like this and I was amazed at how quickly the people around me started contributing great ideas, and it all took off from there.”

According to, tailgating has roots in the fall harvest celebrations of Ancient Greece and Rome which were events marked with music, community and plenty of food and drink for a final feast before winter’s onset.

What might be considered the first American tailgate occurred on July 21, 1861, when residents of Washington packed picnic baskets and loaded into carriages and buggies for a day in the Virginia countryside to watch from afar the first major showdown of the Civil War at the First Battle of Bull Run.

The first football tailgate may have been held in 1869 when Rutgers and Princeton played the first football game. Newspapers in the 1880s reported that well-to-do fans sipped champagne and enjoyed other refreshments while watching the annual Yale-Princeton Thanksgiving game in New York from the luxury of horse-drawn coaches parked on the sidelines.

The ritual of tailgating at football games continued and began growing with the invention of the automobile and became more sophisticated with the advent of portable grills and portable generators that allow people to enjoy tailgating with music and television.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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