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Alcohol-free tailgating offers family activities

By Ty Young
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 18, 1999

While typical pre-game tailgating events took place prior to Saturday's football game, the first ever Wildcat Warm-up on the UA Mall presented an alternative activity for a crowd of nearly 200.

Organizers were happy with the event, even though the turnout was not as high as expected.

"We were expecting more people, but the kids really had a great time," said ASUA Sen. Amanda Martin, who was in charge of the event. "It went really well."

Designed as an alternative to alcohol-related tailgating, Martin said the Wildcat Warm-up offered some variety for fans of all ages.

"It was kind of an experiment for future dates," she said. "I think it's good to provide something for the families where alcohol is not involved."

The event, sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, included free food, drinks and entertainment from 3-6 p.m.

Fans were also treated to face painting and balloon animals by Scribbles the Clown. She also put on a magic show that was well-received by the audience.

"I think it went great," Scribbles said. "They really enjoyed the magic show earlier."

UA campus recreation, which donated a portable basketball hoop, was also involved in the event. Children lined up for hours to practice free-throws before the game.

"They like it a lot," said Michael Vero, a senior physiological science student who works for the campus recreation marketing department. "Whenever we bring it (the basketball hoop) out, kids line up to play."

There were also trivia games for the audience. Free T-shirts and tickets to the game were awarded to the winners.

ASUA provided bottled water and candy for the audience, while bagels were donated by Bruegger's Bagel Bakery.

The UA cheerleaders, along with Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat, were also in attendance and led the audience in warm-up cheers.

The UA steel drum band played for the final 30 minutes. By then the majority of the audience was making its way to the game.

"It was fun, but I was expecting more people," Tucson resident Diane Mercer said. "It's a real shame for the band, because they are really good."

Others in the audience agreed that the event would have been better if there was a larger showing.

"I think it would be more fun if there were more people dancing around," said Chelsea Mercer, a seventh grader at Coronado Middle School.

Martin later explained that ASUA will review the event and make appropriate changes for next year.

"We were happy with the event," she said. "Next semester we'll probably try to promote it a little more."

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