Over the years, high schools have come up with new and creative ways to kick off their football seasons. Union High School in Tulsa took it up a notch this year when it hosted Meet The Redhawks And FanFest Day.
Along with intrasquad scrimmages, the free, family-friendly event included a car show, vendor fair and food trucks in a fun, tailgate party-style atmosphere.
“Our booster club was looking for a way to get parents involved, sell season tickets and have parent meetings, so they created Meet the Redhawks,” said Union Athletic Director Emily Barkley. “I think it’s a good tune-up for the season. It’s been a great day. I think it’s been a big success.”
The FanFest also featured some fun participation events. Between the 8th and 9th grade scrimmages and the varsity scrimmage, coaches took part in a jalapeno pepper eating contest. At halftime of the varsity scrimmage, the Momma Redhawks participated in a touch football game. There was also a silent auction that raised more than $5,500.
“This part of football season is a very exciting time,” said head coach Kirk Fridrich. “We have a lot of kids that have put in a lot of work to get to this point and it’s great to have a FanFest, to have the parents come out and people from the community and make it a celebration. We’ve got people everywhere. It’s been an all-day event. I couldn’t be prouder of our booster club for making it a cool event for our kids to celebrate the start of football season.”
The event capped off an exciting week for Union, who kicked off its season a few days earlier with a midnight practice. Starting a new season is always an exciting time for Fridrich, who has been Union’s head coach since 2007.
“Yes and no,” said Fridrich with a chuckle. “It’s a lot of work getting the season started, but it’s great to celebrate what the kids are doing. There’s a lot of awesome kids that are working really hard, so let’s celebrate it.”
The FanFest was also an opportunity for fans to get their first look at the Redhawks’ new video board. The big screen is the cherry on top of the two-year stadium renovation project that’s made it one of the top high school football facilities in the Midwest.
“It’s definitely impressive,” admitted Fridrich. “Every day I think about how blessed I am to be at a place like this. There’s nothing like it. I think about how awesome it is to have this opportunity to pass it on to generations of kids that will be at Union.”
The Redhawks open their season August 26th when they play host to Westmoore. They will appear on YurView two weeks later when they battle crosstown rival Jenks in the annual Backyard Bowl on September 9th.