An experience like no other, the Grove has become more than a place to party. It’s a way of life at Ole Miss.
The Grove at the University of Mississippi is a popular area that continues to attract tourists, new students and alumni. It originally began as an informal gathering area for sororities and fraternities to hang out before a football game.
By the 1950s, the Grove started to become its own pre-game tradition.
“The best thing about the Grove is being around my friends and family, just enjoying the game of football,” sophomore Lauren Forsythe said.
The Grove comes to life for Ole Miss Rebel football home games with as many as 25,000 fans. The area becomes a sea of red, white and blue tents.
Tents are set up to perfection as people socialize moving from tent to tent. They all have decorations, including signs, chandeliers and tablecloths. They also include an abundance of food, from catering companies to home-cooked meals.
Junior Courtney Britt and sophomore Amber Forsman are two out of the three girls in charge of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority tent in the Grove.
“It is hard work and a lot of pressure being in charge of organizing the game day tent, because you want it to be the best experience for the girls and their families,” Britt said.
Forsman said the most important thing to have in the tent is food.
“By the time the game starts, everyone is starving,” Forsman said. “I know when I go to the Grove, the food is what I am most excited about.”
In 1985, Head Coach Billy Brewer created a route to walk the football team down to the stadium two hours before the game. Every Saturday, the team divided the Grove on the east side of the student union and continued down a sidewalk in the middle of the Grove.
Ole Miss fans swarm both sides of the sidewalk in order to greet the players and cheerleaders with loud chants before the game.
“Seeing the school come together at that moment to greet the players and cheer them on, really shows how close of a campus we really are,” Forsythe said.
The women wear sun dresses, skirts and high heels. Men wear button-up shirts, coats and bow ties.
“When I came to a football game last year to decide if this was the school I wanted to go to, I absolutely loved how everyone dressed up,” Forsythe said. “I am such a girly-girl, so wearing a dress to every football game was a major deciding factor for me.”
The Grove’s traditions bring the Oxford community and students from across the country together to cheer on the Rebel football team.
Sophomore Paige Castellaw said she looks forward to Saturday football games in the Grove because of the welcoming atmosphere and happy Rebel fans.
“No matter the outcome of the game, everyone always has the best attitudes and has a great time,” she said.