It was a rollicking, rousing good time as Francis Marion Manor Health & Rehabilitation, a division of Ballad Health’s Smyth County Community Hospital, hosted a “tailgate” party on Friday to kick off the 2019 football season.
Residents gathered outside Francis Marion Manor to cheer on local teams from high school and college as members of those teams cheered and performed for the residents. Marion, Chilhowie and Northwood high schools came with band members, cheerleaders and football players. Other teams represented included Emory & Henry College, Virginia Tech, the University of Tennessee and Ohio State.
“The tailgate party is a great opportunity for our residents to show support for local schools,” said Lori Martin, administrator. “Football players and cheerleaders visited with residents and received pep talks as they readied for their games that night.”
Tents, serving typical tailgating foods such as hot dogs, barbecue and pizza, were decorated in school colors for residents’ favorite teams and alma maters. There was also music and games such as corn hole and ladder ball. Residents were greeted by team mascots and given small footballs as souvenirs.
To add to the festivities, high school bands played pre-game fight songs and other tunes while the cheerleaders fired up the crowd.
“The team at Francis Marion [Manor] realizes the importance of community to our residents, so we organize several events throughout the year,” Martin said. “The residents are involved in planning and organizing these activities, from start to finish. Since we’re all such huge sports fans, we decided to host an epic tailgate party and invited Chilhowie, Northwood and Marion high schools as well as Emory & Henry College to join us.”
“Friday night football is an important tradition in our communities,” she said. “We may not be in the stands, but this is a terrific way for us to celebrate and show our pride. Everyone was so excited and had a great time.”