Number of Virginia Tech students tailgating on Center Street decreases

Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - For years, students have gathered at Center Street to tailgate and cheer on the Hokies.

A big tradition that senior Jake Hartman says attracts many students to attend Virginia Tech.

“We have this incredible football culture. I know that we’ve been ranked before as like one of the best tailgating schools. They’re basically trying to take that away,” said Hartman.

Two months ago, the town of Blacksburg created a new voluntary party registration system. The town manager may deny a permit request if there were any problems at a previous event held by the same organizers within the last 90 days.

Hartman says the new changes created a negative stigma.

“I know I have personal friends who don’t want to show up out of fear,” added explained Hartman. “They think they’re going to get arrested.”

Fences have been put around the area and students say law enforcement presence has increased.

Senior Jack Hadad says this has allowed them to create a better relationship with the town, and police officers.

“I am very thankful for our relationship. I think we’ve really built a safe and still a very fun experience this year at center street for game day. Great tradition,” said Hadad.

Junior Rachel Damico says some students now tailgate at different places. She says having all students gather at center street prevents drinking and driving as students walk to games.

“I think it’s more safe to have everyone in the same place where you can watch them and we’re within walking distance from the stadium,” said Damico. “I think when you don’t do that. There’s people all over the town of Blacksburg. Everyone is drinking and drunk driving.”

Crowds have decreased on the very popular street.

“It’s safer. Less… Crowds. It’s a lot more controlled,” added Hadad. “So, I think it’s a lot better for the student body.”

Students have created a “Save Center Street” hashtag.