STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) – State College is buzzing with excitement for Penn State’s white-out game.
On Friday, festivities were already underway and fans were everywhere.
Alumni Craig Locker is going to the game with his son and his two nephews.
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“We can feel the buzz, ya know we can feel the energy of game day,” Locker said. “I’m so excited for this weekend. I had to book the hotel a year in advance, but totally worth it.”
After not getting the in-person game day experience last year, this season feels even more exciting.
“It feels really liberating to be able to come to a packed stadium and the anticipation is growing so we’re really excited,” Locker said.
One of his nephews Jake Mingin is a freshman at Penn State and excited to be part of the tradition for the first time.
“It’s going to be my first game day. The past two weeks of just being here watching Penn State play has just been so electric,” Mingin said.
Alumni Elijah Brown came up from North Carolina to be at the game.
“The white out game is just too much fun to miss out on, so had to make the trip back,” Brown said. “The anticipation really built up for this year since we missed out on last year.”
Karen Kishbach and Patti Thomason are longtime friends and big Penn State fans
“We are so excited because we have not been down in a couple of years. These are our best friends. So it’s just amazing right,” Thomason said.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Kishbach said.
The local businesses are feeling the game-day excitement too. Curtis Shulman is the director of operations at Pickle’s Tap Room, a popular area bar.
“It’s football season, it’s the best,” Shulman said.
He says they make 25% of their yearly income from the business they get out of home football games.
“Obviously financially it’s huge. It’s really rewarding for the staff because it’s big money weekends for them,” Shulman said. “And just the energy of downtown. We’re a small community. We over double in size when football is in town. So it’s just a big emotional win for our local economy.”
Cheyenne Alley works as a waitress at Local Whiskey and is a senior at Penn State. She’s really glad to see the bump in business and the return of game days.
“It’s bringing in a lot of business compared to what COVID had,” Alley said.”I base all my income into like school, I pay for my housing, so this is a big deal for me.”