ASU Football Fan Fest huge hit with fans

Arizona State football held its Sun Devil Football Fan Fest in Tempe over the weekend and added some new twists to old traditions.

Fan Fest, which ran from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 13, and attracted Sun Devil fans of all ages, from die-hard Devils in vintage Tillman jerseys to 8-year-old children carrying around blown-up pictures of their favorite players as big as they were.

Prior to the on-field action, activities were held outside the southeast entrance of Sun Devil Stadium, including a maroon-and-gold carnival equipped with inflatable football, baseball, soccer and basketball games for kids to play with assistance from member of the Sun Devil women’s basketball team. There were even 6-foot-tall inflatable balls with kids rolling around in them like hamsters.

Sparky was present, of course, not only to take pictures with fans of all ages but to keep one eye on the tailgate competition. The friendly contest between Arizona State’s most die-hard tailgaters was judged by men’s basketball head coach Herb Sendek.

“Our tailgate group tailgates at every home game and most of the away games,” said Sun Devil alumni Jeff Novick. “We’re our own group: Devil’s Crew. Everyone pays fees every year and we come out and tailgate. We’ve been tailgating in this spot from about ’96 on.”

Other tailgaters had canopies and flags, and though Devil’s Crew offered a similar setup Novick said his group’s food gave them the extra push in their attempt to get the first-place trophy. He and other Devil’s Crew members bustled around a 6-foot-long grill frying meat and peppers in pans, scrambling eggs, and laying down sizzling strips of bacon.

When the gates to Sun Devil Stadium opened at 10 a.m., more unique ASU experiences began. The Social Media Command Center began connecting fans to Sun Devil Athletics by giving them an opportunity to live-tweet and encouraging them to use the official hashtag of the day #ASUFanFest. Fans also had the opportunity to take photos with ASU Football alumni and Sun Devil memorabilia such as the 1987 Rose Bowl Trophy and the Territorial Cup.

“[Taking a picture with the Rose Bowl trophy] felt awesome because not only are we looking at it now, we’re gonna look at it again in January,” said 34-year season holder Mick Moore. “And all this spirit? This is great. We need more of this.”

Former Sun Devil Tom Newell loved holding the Rose Bowl trophy he actually witnessed the Sun Devils win when he went to ASU.

“Love that trophy,” Newell said, and turned his focus toward the future of Sun Devil Football. “Love the direction Todd Graham is going in. We’re gonna be kicking some butt.”

The Devils conducted an intrasquad scrimmage at 11 a.m. and afterward the field opened up to fans for autographs and pictures with players.

“[The atmosphere] was great,” said Sun Devil tight end Chris Coyle. “This year I think we have a lot more people that believe in us and that will give us some good momentum going into the season.”  

And spectators were again treated on their way out by Fan Feast – an assortment of food trucks such as AZ Barbecue, Liberty’s Biscuits, and Cold Stone Creamery – stationed outside the gates.

“The fans, the food, the atmosphere, it was all so much fun,” said Sun Devil fan and student Alex Carpenter. “It makes all of us so excited for the season!”