University of Tennessee Game Day: Jim Walker’s Must-See Traditions

Vols die-hard Jim Walker shares his top 4 must-see game day traditions for your next Saturday trip to Knoxville

Jim Walker
Sep 18 · 3 min read
Every Tennessee Volunteers football fan needs to check out these must-see traditions on your next trip to Knoxville (Melinda Fawver / Adobe Stock)

One of the most classic American family pastimes is cheering on your favorite college football team. One of Jim Walker and his family’s all-time favorite traditions is joining in the festivities at the University of Tennessee on game day. Whether a newbie to the world of Tennessee college football or a lifetime fan, here is the official “Jim Walker list” for must-see game day experiences that every Volunteers fan, or ‘Vols’ as their affectionately known, should try at least once.

G-10 Parking Garage

Most football fans understand the tailgating concept, but few know just how memorable Vol game day tailgating is at the G-10 Parking Garage in Knoxville, Tennessee. For home games, the entire garage is reserved for tailgating parties. All the tailgating traditions are welcome, including TVs, coolers, cookouts, and more, allowing fans to come together to celebrate their favorite team. If you plan to join the celebration, make sure to plan ahead, as drop-ins will likely find no available space. Jim Walker suggests that you also consider joining the official G-10 Parking Garage Facebook Page for announcements and general information.

Vol Walk on Peyton Manning Pass

What the Vol Walk fans enjoy today is only a 30-year-old tradition, but the inspiration for the Vol Walk goes farther back. Tennessee players used to walk from the dorms to Neyland Stadium (formerly known as Shield-Watkins Field) since the earliest Vol football days nearly 100 years ago. Fans and students would flood what is today named Peyton Manning Pass to cheer on Tennessee players. The Vol Walk is the Tennessee version of a pep rally and parade that was first made into an official event by Johnny Majors, Head Coach in 1990, to help energize the fans before a match against longtime rival Alabama.

Jim Walker describes the University of Tennessee ‘Vol Walk’
Jim Walker describes the University of Tennessee ‘Vol Walk’
The University of Tennessee ‘Vol Walk’ in 2014

Today, visitors can enjoy a full Tennessee Volunteers pep rally, complete with a parade and the sounds of the ‘Pride of the Southland Band’, UT’s marching band. Jim Walker notes that the festivities begin two hours before the start of the game near Circle Park. Students, fans, and alumni may find a spot anywhere along Peyton Manning Pass between Circle Park and Gate 21 at Neyland Stadium.

The Rock

In 2015, a University of Tennessee sophomore painted her first game day mural, a tradition she continued until she graduated in 2017. Today, Payton Miller fascinates students, alumni, and fans alike with her Vol artwork proudly displayed across The Rock on campus. Read more about Miller’s story here. On game day, make sure to visit The Rock and snap a pic before the game begins

Tennessee River

Neyland Stadium hugs the Tennessee River in Knoxville. Southern Living featured The Vol Navy, a gathering of tailgating fans flooding the docks with their boats dressed in Vol Orange. The Game Day Tennessee River Tailgate is perhaps the most unique tailgate party in all of college football, and it’s 100% on the water. And the best part? You don’t need a boat to join in the fun. Simply visit The Vol Navy website for details on how to participate.

In conclusion, the Tennessee Volunteers have a storied history with many traditions that fans can take part in before every home game. Jim Walker believes that if you can go to one of the games, you will not regret experiencing these traditions.

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