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My first Cocktail Party: Scenes from Florida's fun Halloween win over Georgia

"Things went right for the Gators. Things felt right to me."

Ashley Kummer

I learned something last weekend: There are rivalries. And then there is Florida-Georgia.

I had heard rumors about this so-called "World's Largest Cocktail Party" growing up, but had never been able to make the trip in person in the past. My parents had told me stories about the iconic college football weekend that they experienced back when they were Florida students. After hearing their crazy tales, I had to go, and did something crazy for myself, making the trek more or less at the spur of the moment.

With Florida on the road, Saturdays in October felt very different for me. Not waking up and going down to The Swamp for a full day of game day festivities every Saturday was weird. It honestly felt like I hadn't seen my Gators play in person in years, even though it had only been a month. I wanted to put together plans for a couple away games in October, but, financially, I couldn't make it work. And I was obviously a little bummed, but I am still a freshman. I have a few more years to plan for some crazy road games.

I may or may not be making arrangements for our next game in Death Valley already.

But Jacksonville is different. Jacksonville's two hours away, a day trip. Jacksonville beckons when one of your friends has a free extra ticket up for grabs because his roommate had backed out at the last minute and he is scrambling to find someone to make the trip with him. I felt bad about accepting a free ticket but made the deal to at least drive to Jacksonville and back with my car and gas. And that's all it took.

We headed out from Gainesville early Halloween morning. Before rolling out, I received multiple Facebook notifications from my dad commenting on his friends' posts that were going to the game: Watch out for Ashley Kummer. I know what happens down there. What was this supposed to mean?

Once we arrived at the perimeter of EverBank Field, it didn't take me long to figure it out.

I had never been to Jacksonville before, somehow, so I didn't honestly know where I was going at all when we arrived. Seas of blue and red sloshed on street we drove past. After leaving my car in a parking garage, we found a water taxi to take us to the stadium. We probably could have made the walk, really, but it was far too beautiful of a day on the water to pass up the opportunity: I grew up on Gulf shores in Pensacola, and having been landlocked in Gainesville for the past few months, I was long overdue for a boat ride on really any body of water.

Even the St. Johns.

We piled on to the boat, part of a mixed crowd of Florida and Georgia fans. There, I got my first of many doses of the "Go Dawgs! Sic 'em!" chant, and battled back with "OR-ANGE! BLUE!" and "It's great to be a Florida Gator!"

When we got off the water taxi, tailgates stretched as far as the eye could see, maybe farther. There were even "boat-gates." I have a new life goal: Own a boat, solely so I can have a boat tailgate for future Florida-Georgia games.

I thought I had truly experienced tailgating before Saturday, but this was on a whole other level. The music was louder, red Solo cups were in virtually every hand, the coolers of beer overflowed, and the overall rowdiness was even more rowdy. This was truly a party and I was loving every second of the madness.

My friend and I drifted from tailgate to tailgate, in search of people we were actually acquainted with on days other than this Saturday, but since this was a Florida game, we were fast friends with everyone we found dressed in orange and blue. My friend's "Free Willy" shirt also was quite a conversation starter with a ton of people.

Florida Georgia Stands

I tried texting friends in hopes of finding where they were located, but in true game day fashion, cell phone service was complete crap. Texts straight up failed to send, I could barely make out words if I was talking on the phone, and my phone battery died faster than the frat boy next to me could shotgun a beer. I eventually just accepted the cell service situation and just wandered wherever my already-tired legs would take me.

After what felt like miles and miles of walking and taking in the outrageous scene of the Cocktail Party (and after getting barked at by multiple guys at least three times my size in red face paint, because Georgia fans), we finally found our way to our seats. We didn't know anyone we were sitting by but we all talked like we were life-long pals. An older gentleman to my right complained that there weren't any Georgia fans around us to make fun of and "give hell after we beat them." I literally laughed out loud.

I had no idea how right he would be.

Having never been to a neutral-site game before, I found the stadium's split between blue and red really cool. I also wondered how the "OR-ANGE! BLUE!" chant would work.

Then the actual game got underway and, my gosh, was it fun to watch. Sure, the fun really only came after the times when Treon Harris was a little scary to watch, and not in the good way — but it was Halloween, after all, and what's Halloween without at least a little fear?

But this game really was fun. The turnovers, Antonio Callaway being Antonio Callaway, the money downs (on the road, mind you), the other turnovers, Georgia only putting up three points, the other other turnovers — I'm obviously only naming a few things, but things went right for the Gators. Things felt right to me.

And then there was the best thing about the day: Georgia fans clearing out a little after halftime.

Like, where dey at, doe?

I used this as an Instagram caption on Saturday, and even though it's cheesy, I took pride in it: "Gator football {tricks} made today's game a {treat}." Saturday was seriously a blast, and I'm even more excited for Florida to return to The Swamp this Saturday.

I'm also kind of excited about maybe seeing Florida in Atlanta in the near future, which I hear is a possibility.

Maybe I'll start walking now.