Iowa's making the first-ever trip to Maryland this weekend and plenty of Iowa fans are making the trip down to see what our new crab-loving Big Ten friends have to offer. I enlisted the aid of @TestudoDave at Testudo Times to give us the lowdown on Byrd Stadium, College Park, and all things Terps.
1) What sort of pre-game, in-game, or post-game traditions should Iowa fans expect to see at Byrd Stadium? Are there any regular chants or songs?
DAVE: There are definitely some chants and songs. The band previously played "Rock and Roll, Part II," and the students all chanted "Hey, you suck!" but the athletic department forced them to stop playing that a number of years ago. The students now just start singing the song and doing the chant, traditionally after the team scores their first touchdown of each half. There is also a "red! white!" cheer that happens, with one side of the stadium yelling to the other.
We also fire off a cannon after each score and at the end of the game. Our band also performs a great pregame show that includes the unveiling of the world's largest Maryland flag (how Purdue of us).
2) Speaking of Byrd Stadium... how are the concessions? Standard football stadium fare (hot dogs, pop corn, nachos, etc.), or are there some more unique items available too? Is there anything that a visitor absolutely must try?
DAVE: New this year is the gigantic crab pretzel. It's 1.5 lbs and should definitely be tried, but I'd get in line early as the demand for this delicious bundle of goodness is normally high throughout the game. Maryland's dairy is also there selling delicious ice cream made on campus, including the new Big Ten flavor, which is delicious. There is also your standard stadium fare, but those two are must tries for visiting folk.
3) How's the tailgating scene around Byrd? Do most people tailgate near the stadium or further away? Are there any particular areas that are especially worth checking out? (Also, are there any special rules about things Iowa fans shouldn't do if they want to avoid running afoul of the authorities?)
DAVE: Most of Maryland's tailgating takes place on campus. There are two main areas - the Lot 1 tailgate and then the XFinity Center tailgate. For both, you need to have a parking pass purchased ahead of time. There are cash lots that you can pay at the day of, but you still need a cash permit to park there. More info here.
If you're tailgating, make sure to put any adult beverages into plastic cups.
Maryland fans are normally pretty welcoming, so long as you're not being a jerk. We really enjoy playing cornhole, making awesome food, and kicking back and relaxing before a game. Just don't say anything negative about the Maryland flag and you'll be fine.
4) What are the most notable attractions or locations on campus or around College Park?
DAVE: On campus, there's Cole Field House, which is where Maryland previously played their basketball games. It's a pretty historic and awesome building to check out. Maryland's campus is really nice. Check out the mall in the center of campus, where I believe they're actually having a beer garden for homecoming.
If you're into aviation stuff, the College Park Airport, which also has the College Park Aviation museum. And if you have time, College Park is nine miles from downtown D.C., so be sure to check that out if you can.
5) Speaking of campus... Iowa fans don't have to worry about running into this guy anywhere, right? Please tell me he exists only in some nightmarish CGI reality and not our everyday existence.
DAVE: That all depends on what you're wearing and how you're acting while on campus. But seriously, I don't think you have to worry about that little guy. The real Testudo is much nicer and softer in person.
6) And finally, what are the best restaurants or bars around College Park that visitors should check out if they're looking to watch some football or grab something to eat/drink after the game? Any must-eat local dishes or must-drink local brews?
DAVE: For a university the size of Maryland, you're going to be disappointed at the number of bars in College Park. It still blows my mind. I'd definitely check out Ledo's, which is right across from campus. Their pizza is delicious. In terms of bars, there's Looney's Pub (lots of TVs), Cornerstone and RJ Bentley's as your three main bars. There is apparently a new place called Terrapin's Turf, which was formally the Santa Fe Cafe/Bar. All of those are right off campus. Further down Route 1 there's the Green Turtle and of course there are tons of bars in D.C. if you feel like venturing down there.
In terms of local beers, if you can get your hands on anything by Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, and Union Craft Brewery are some of my favorites from Maryland. Do you get Dogfish out by you all? If you don't, that's my all-time favorite brewery. They're based in Delaware and awesome. 90 minute IPA is great, as is their 60 minute and 120 Minute, but my personal favorite is their Palo Santo Marron. And now I want to drink all of those and it's still early in the morning.
Thanks, Dave! Don't forget to check out Testudo Times to satisfy your curiosity all things Terps.