Vanderbilt's athletic department is pulling out all the stops for "Dore Jam", a new and improved version of the event formerly known as "Fan Day", this Sunday afternoon from 4:00-6:00 at the McGugin practice fields along Natchez Trace.
Traditionally the annual event merely allows fans to get up close and personal with the football squad, and that will certainly be the case again this year. Fans are permitted and encouraged to obtain autographs and chat with players and coaches.
But for new Head Coach Bobby Johnson's debut appearance, the event has been expanded and enhanced. And it's all still free.
"It's going to be bigger and better than previously, with more of a showcase on the total Commodore athletic program than in past years," said Chris Wyrick, Commodore Assistant AD for Major Gifts. "We really wanted to reach out to the community and do a key event free of charge that would include everyone."
For curious football fans, Dore Jam offers a chance to check out the latest additions to the "McGugin fields project"-- namely, two renovated practice fields, one made of an AstroPlay synthetic surface, and another made of natural grass-- and a new 2,400-seat soccer / lacrosse stadium, which is still under construction. A brief dedication ceremony will christen the $5.5 million project.
Meanwhile Vanderbilt's redesigned Nike football uniforms, the subject of much discussion among fans, will be unveiled as part of the festivities. The senior captains-- Jamie Byrum, Rushen Jones and Dan Stricker-- will model the three new uniform styles (a gold and a black jersey for home games, and a white one for road games).
The first 2,000 adults attending Dore Jam also receive two free tickets to the Commodores' football home opener versus Furman on Sept. 7.
The athletic department has arranged special activities for young fans as well. Natchez Trace will be blocked off during the afternoon between Jess Neely Drive and Blakemore Avenue, and an assortment of inflatable kids' attractions-- all free to youngsters-- will be set up.
And for the first time ever, the event also features complimentary hot dogs, popcorn and drinks, and live entertainment.
Dore Jam also offers fans an opportunity to meet members of Vanderbilt's other sports teams. Players and coaches of sports such as baseball, lacrosse, men's and women's golf, and tennis are scheduled to help out with interactive skill contests.
Free parking will be available in lots on the west side of Natchez Trace across from the McGugin complex. For best access, fans are advised to approach the lots from the West End side of campus.