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Grove-Goers Ready to Spend Thanksgiving Tailgating

By Georgia Graves
for Hottytoddy.com

For some Oxford residents, Thanksgiving will look a little different this year—this year marks the first time in more than six years that the much anticipated Egg Bowl will be held in Oxford on Thanksgiving Day.

Thousands will descend upon the Grove Thursday, Nov. 22 to celebrate the Rebels’ last home game in conjunction with Thanksgiving. File photo.

With the holiday and the game falling on the same day this year, many Rebel fans will be combining their holiday traditions with typical Grove festivities.

Ole Miss senior Hannah Gollnick said she can’t imagine a better way to end her final football season as an Ole Miss student.

Gollnick, originally from North Carolina, is not only excited for her family to experience an Egg Bowl but also be able to include her closest friends in her family’s Thanksgiving celebration.

Gollnick’s family plans to make Thanksgiving-themed tailgate food, then hold their more formal Thanksgiving dinner the next day with Gollnick’s friends and roommates.

“My mom asked all my friends what they normally have on Thanksgiving, so she can make sure that they feel comfortable and at home,” Gollnick said.

Ole Miss sophomore Mary Reiley Boling is no stranger to Thanksgiving in the Grove—her family has held Thanksgiving in Oxford before, but Boling says the experience will never grow old.

On Thanksgiving Day, Boling and family friends have a Thanksgiving lunch at her grandmother’s Oxford home, before heading to the Grove to tailgate before the game.

They decorate their Grove tent with fall decor and make sure to prepare Thanksgiving-themed snacks—stuffing, shredded turkey and a host of other traditional foods.

This year, Boling is excited to include her roommates in her family’s Thanksgiving celebration, and to welcome a friend from Mississippi State University who will be making the trip to Oxford to tailgate in the Grove.

For Boling, the welcoming and inclusive spirit is part of what makes Thanksgiving in the Grove so special.

“I like celebrating Thanksgiving in the Grove because it’s different from a typical Thanksgiving,” Boling said. “The Grove is already such a great atmosphere and then adding such a great holiday into it just makes it such a good experience.”

Boling adds that other family friends in Oxford will also be joining the celebration, something she is very much looking forward to.

“Doing Thanksgiving with other families is another way that it’s different from a typical Thanksgiving, and it just adds to the experience,” Boling said.

For football mom Toni Bing, this year’s Thanksgiving in the Grove has special significance. Her son, who plays football for Ole Miss, will not only be playing in the Egg Bowl but will also celebrating his senior night this Thanksgiving.

“I’m excited to watch the Egg Bowl in Oxford one last time while we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends,” Bing said. “It will be my first time doing Thanksgiving in the Grove, but I can’t wait.”

Bing will travel from Georgia with her immediate and extended family to host their Thanksgiving celebration at their tent in the Grove.

They ordered a turkey and a ham in Oxford, but have decided to host their official Thanksgiving dinner the following day, where they plan on welcoming any of her son’s friends and their families who will also be in Oxford for Thanksgiving.

For Bing, Thanksgiving isn’t about the location, but about gathering with family to celebrate and watch football.

“Just having the whole family there will make it feel like Thanksgiving,” Bing said.

While Thanksgiving in the Grove isn’t typical for most, these Ole Miss fans couldn’t be more excited to celebrate Thanksgiving at a tailgate, surrounded by good food, good friends and—hopefully—a Rebel win.

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