BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Athletics announced its football gameday experience plans for the 2012 season Thursday, featuring many enhancements to the fan environment inside and outside the stadium and even more ways to become immersed at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium this fall.
In all, WKU will offer 30 different areas for tailgating and picnicking all located within half of a mile of the stadium, including an area specifically designed for students and a kids play area, and approximately 4,500 free parking spaces in addition to revamped concessions inside the stadium.
The Parking Structure 1 Garage (PS1), located on the north side of E.A. Diddle Arena, remains admissible on gameday free of charge. This structure provides approximately 500 free covered parking spaces and is part of over 4,500 free paved parking spaces available throughout campus for fans attending games.
Returning to the Hill this fall in a new location is "Topper Town," a kids play area featuring inflatables and activities for children of all ages. Topper Town opens three hours prior to kickoff and is free for the entire family, and it is located in the heart of campus on the lawn of Bates Runner Hall off Avenue of Champions.
Fans can experience the Topper Walk, also in a new location, and cheer on the entire WKU football team as they enter the stadium two hours and 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Topper Walk starts on Avenue of Champions across from PS1, where the team buses will drop off the players and coaches so they can walk by fans and along with WKU cheerleaders, Topperettes, the marching band and Big Red into the stadium.
Tailgating and Picnicking:
"Topperville," the large, on-campus area adjacent to College Heights Boulevard, remains a reserved student-only tailgating and picnic area. Students may begin parking in this area at 6:00 PM the day before a home game on a first-come, first-served basis, and Topperville will close 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
Tailgating locations on the grass in the heart of campus will be available for purchase again this season, with the money collected going towards security and staff to operate and maintain the areas. Spaces may be purchased for $20 on a per-game basis upon entry to the lots, and these parking lots will open six-and-a-half hours prior to each home game. WKU Athletics reserves the right to close the grass parking lots in case of inclement weather.
Tailgating and picnicking logistics for the Thursday, November 1 game against Middle Tennessee will be announced when they are finalized.
The grass parking locations available on a per-game basis are in addition to the two seasonal grass parking locations that are available. The two seasonal grass parking areas, located on College Heights Boulevard and University Boulevard, contain close to 150 parking spots, cost $100 for the entire season and are available to the general public and WKU students. To purchase seasonal grass parking, call the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation at (270) 745-2468 or email Elizabeth Leftwich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those utilizing the lawns on gameday may set up tents six hours and 30 minutes prior to kickoff, and all lots will be closed 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Pop-up tents, grills and coolers are permissible. Loading and unloading zones are located throughout campus and available on a temporary basis for those wishing to unload items on the lawns where parking is not permitted. No pets will be allowed in tailgating areas, and security in these areas will monitor alcohol consumption.
Despite construction at the Downing University Center the grass on the South Lawn is available for picnicking this season, with fans able to utilize the grass on gameday as space allows.
WKU will offer revamped concessions throughout Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium through concessionaire Centerplate, including a wider range of food choices inside the stadium. In addition to traditional stadium fare such as hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and candy throughout the entire stadium, fans will now have the option to try new foods in various other locations.
Available on the east side of the stadium will be Chaney's Dairy Barn ice cream, tex-mex options such as fajitas, tacos and super nachos, Cincinnati chili fare like chili dogs and chili two, three and four ways and a special kids area that holds hot dogs, cotton candy, tummi-yummies, candy and a kids meal special.
On the west side of the stadium, fans can choose from Pizza Hut Wing Street, featuring personal pan pizzas and boneless wings, a special grill stand with hamburgers, grilled chicken, chicken tenders, barbeque ribs and grilled sausage. Fans can also try to take on the "Man vs. Hilltopper Burger," a one-pound burger and french fries, and finish everything off with something from the iced slushi station.
WKU football's fourth annual Family Fun Day will be held on Saturday, August 25 from 4:00-6:00 PM (CT) at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The free event will give WKU fans an opportunity to interact with and get autographs from Hilltopper players and coaches. There will also be a Fun Zone set up for kids with activities including inflatables, face painting and balloon art. Free Coke products and popcorn will also be provided to the first 500 fans.
WKU opens the 2012 season on Saturday, September 1 against Austin Peay at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Season tickets for all six WKU home games in 2012 are available starting as low as $50 and can be purchased by contacting the WKU Ticket Office at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally. Tickets are also available 24 hours a day at WKUSports.com.