I'll have a more detailed article up later about the amazing Tailgaters who are outside gate 10 at Churchill Downs, but first I wanted to say they're quite literally the friendliest people I've met at HullabaLOU. Don't get me wrong - this isn't the crazy aggressive cheek to jowl crowds of Derby. People are honestly happy to be here. Everyone I've spoken to so far is eager to meet strangers and in a mood to party.
Interestingly, they're not cheap. I assumed tailgaters were in it to save a few bucks. After all, with food ranging from $7-10 for small portions and drinks starting at $6 there's a lot of money to be saved for the cost of a $25 parking permit. However, every single person I met outside spent in the triple digits to throw a great party for both themselves and any random passers by they meet.
If you're a Kenny Chesney fan in particular or a music fan in general, wander through the parking lot and introduce yourself to the people in tents with inflatable palm trees. They'll offer you a drink or three, challenge you to a game of cornhole, and probably feed you to boot. Watch out, though. You might have such a good time you'll miss your band.
Photo credit Chris-Rachael Oseland.