It’s a fitting way for a football coach’s family to give back: creating the quintessential tailgate experience before every home game and donating the proceeds to some of our city’s most deserving causes. Now in its third season, the Petrino Family Foundation Tailgate has nearly doubled in size since its initial humble efforts and has raised over $150,000 for organizations like Norton Children’s Hospital, Family Scholar House and PFF scholarships.
“That first year, we had maybe twenty-two tables in a tent on the grass."
laughs Kelsey Petrino Scott, Executive Director. “Now we’re getting close to our goal of selling forty season ticket tables.” As the crowd has grown, the experience has also evolved to incorporate more sponsors, more surprises, more fun for guests. “We always have performances by the marching band and the dance team,” says Kelsey. “And we have live broadcasting of the pre-game show on 790, which the guests really love.” There are bouncy houses for the kids, corn hole, giveaways, surprise visits from University of Louisville athletes and former players and, this year, the foundation is even working with the Center for the Arts on bringing in a twenty-minute live performance. “We want to show a little love to the arts community and find new ways to engage more people,” says Kelsey.
The goal is to create an atmosphere that’s welcoming to fans of all ages. “My kids love to go because they run straight for the inflatables as soon as we get here,” says Kelsey. “It’s a secure, locked facility, so you don’t have to worry. The kids can just take off and play and have their faces painted and I can be interacting with adults.”
The food, which is provided by local caterers and restaurants including Wild Eggs, Kingsley Market, Crushed Ice and United Catering, changes with every game. For premium games, they upgrade the menu. For instance, Volare will be feeding the fans at the Clemson Game. And guests can forget about stocking a cooler: Admission always includes two drink tickets at a bar stocked by sponsors like Tito’s Vodka and Anheuser Bush and supplemented by Center Plate.
The attention to detail and the something for everyone atmosphere is all part of creating a meaningful tradition in the Petrino’s chosen hometown. “I didn’t grow up here from infancy, but Louisville is the place I’ve lived the longest,” says Kelsey. “Creating the foundation and creating this event around the games is our way of contributing to the place that will always feel like home to us. I’ve made lifelong friends through my work with this organization. I’ve met so many people who do incredible things for this community.”
IF YOU GO:
Petrino Family Foundation Tailgates Party
Tickets for the Petrino Family Foundation Tailgates party can be purchased for the season or for individual games, but they can’t be purchased at the door. Call Kelsey Petrino Scott at 502-562-3632 or email [email protected] or go to petrinofamilyfoundation.org for an order form and more information. “I like the personal touch of talking to or emailing all of our guests,” says Kelsey. “We’ve talked about doing this on line, but I like to get to know people!”
-Season tables for ten are $5000 and include ten meal tickets and twenty drink tickets per home game and a chance to win pre-game on-field access.
-Single game tables are $1000.
-Two tickets for premium games can be purchased for $200 and for non-premium games for $150 and each ticket includes a meal ticket and two drink tickets.
The Tailgate isn’t the Petrino Family Foundation’s only fundraising effort. It also hosts a Spring Golf Classic at the Louisville Golf Club and is launching a new Love Louisville initiative to spearhead various volunteer efforts around the city. Go to petrinofamilyfoundation.org for more information about opportunities to donate or volunteer.