CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — What do you get when you combine an almost sell-out crowd and a high wind advisory? A warning for thousands who might plan to use a tent at their tailgate.
It’s a big weekend on U of I’s campus, besides the big football game, it’s also Dad’s Weekend.
Illini Athletics officials said they aren’t banning tents while tailgating, but they don’t fully recommend it.
At kickoff on Saturday, winds could gust up to 50-60 miles per hour. For Illini fans, preparing for game day at Memorial Stadium might start by changing up their tailgating routine.
“There’s a lot of tailgating going on out there, people just got to use precaution,” Zach Acton, assistant director of event management with Illinois Athletics, said.
He added that it’s best to be prepared.
“Make sure they’re anchoring them down, or, quite honestly, if the weather’s clear and that rain’s out of there, you might be best just to keep those 10×10 tents stored away until next weekend,” Acton said.
They aren’t banning them entirely, but Purdue University did for their 11 a.m. kick-off.
West Lafayette is about an hour and a half away from Champaign.
“Right now, we’re not gonna make anything prohibited,” Acton said.
What about the mega white tents for large groups? Evin Brooks, one of the owners at Herriott’s Rents, Tents and Events, said they help with large tailgates of 50 or more people.
“All of our tents are rated for 75 miles per hour wind,” Brooks said. She’s not concerned.
“The stakes that we use are at least three feet long, so they really go down in the ground. We use the webbed ratchet straps, so those are also secure for thousands of pounds.”
But she said you might want to leave your smaller tents at home.
“With the wind gusts tomorrow, I probably just wouldn’t use those,” she said.
The Illini kick off versus Michigan State at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, but Acton said tailgaters will start to arrive in the Grange Grove area around 7 a.m.