Feeling nostalgic pangs for your college town days? Need to release that pent-up election season anger by watching men smash into each other for hours on end? Sure, you could cheer on another Oregon Ducks blowout. Or you could boost your indie cred by taking a chance on the Pac-12 underdogs.
Visit pastoral Corvallis on any autumn weekend, and you’ll find the whole town decked out in head-to-toe orange and black. It’s not early Halloween exuberance—a happy coincidence—but rather spunky partisanship for the Oregon State University Beavers. The Beavs’ abysmal 2015 record (see caption) hasn’t dissuaded Corvallans from turning out by the tens of thousands to root, root, root for the home team again this year. So air out your finest jack-o’-lantern-colored gear and head south for gourmet tailgater grub, Solo cups of microbrews, and maybe, just maybe, a truly delicious win.
It’s not unusual for diehard tailgaters to set up camp five to eight hours before kickoff, filling Reser Stadium’s parking lot with mobile feasts themed to the day’s opponent—think nachos for Arizona, hot dogs for the Huskies, roasted duck for UO. Tailgating tagalongs will also find big-screen satellite TVs and lawn games galore.
If you don’t have an in with the stadium tailgating scene—big season donors get these primo spots—take advantage of the adjacent Alumni Center buffet, which features burgers and pulled pork alongside live and televised pregame festivities. Food, beer, and more giant TVs also await across the street at Truax Center’s family-friendly tailgater, where tots enjoy bounce houses, football tosses, and balloonologist creations.
Arrive at least two hours before kickoff to watch the football team, band, and cheerleading squad in the peppy Beaver Walk parade. Now, for the main event. You don’t need to be an OSU alumnus to be swept up by the hive-mind adrenaline of shared high-fives and third-down chants with nearly 46,000 fans. What merits the unbridled enthusiasm of these loyal fans, even in the face of a losing record? Simple—it’s crazy fun diving headlong into the spirited, goofy revelry that is college football. After all, when’s the last time you saw a whole community set aside their differences and agree on anything? Go Beavs!
Traffic can stall at the Woodburn Outlets. What the heck? Might as well hop off the highway and stock up on Harry & David pears.
Exit 260 marks the 45th parallel—halfway between the North Pole and the equator.
Wave at Humpty Dumpty as you pass the Enchanted Forest, the Willamette Valley’s famed storybook theme park.
A stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Corvallis—right across the street from Reser Stadium—ensures that even the tipsiest tailgater can get home safely.
*This writer's family, in fact!
Gladiatorial sporting events not your thing? Head to the hills for prime hiking in McDonald-Dunn Research Forest’s 11,250 leafy acres. Or skip straight to the afterparty that is Corvallis’s growing craft brew scene—from Nectar Creek mead to 2 Towns cider and beers from Flat Tail, Block 15, and Sky High.