GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Fans of the East Carolina Pirates and N.C. State Wolfpack gathered in the lots surrounding Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, all to tailgate and support their teams for the first college football game of the season.

Some ECU fans drove across town, others across the country, all to see their prized Pirates take on the Wolfpack on Saturday. Many football fans were there for the big game, but others were there for the family, friends and the fun that comes along with a tailgate.

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“Family and friends that come from everywhere. My best friends! The biggest thing is the majority of these friends, I only have for five, six games a year. They come here from all over, and we all come together to support the Pirates,” said Tony Allen, a tailgater and ECU fan.

Many fans said the only thing more important than watching the game is the people they watch the game with. Tim Manning of the tailgating group “Corner Crew” said that it is the friendships that make the games.

“Just have a good time. The outcome on the scoreboard, you know, I mean, it’s great if we’re the upper end, but doesn’t really matter as long as we have friendship, fellowship and have a good time. That’s what it’s all about,” said Manning.

Some Pirate fans said they had been tailgating for decades, and they look forward to decades more of football, family and fun together. Some friends were split on who they were rooting for, but it’s all in friendly competition.

Friends arguing over who would win the first game of the ECU season, “It’s going to be a great game, it’s two great teams. NC state is going to win obviously, I think the final score will be 35 NC State, ECU 10”, said Wolfpack fan Andrew, enjoying his split tailgate with Pirate friends who didn’t see the same outcome.

“I mean I think ECU is going to win, we bolstered our offense and defense. I think they’ll get it done. I don’t remember the last time NC State won at home in ECU.”

ECU fans will be able to pack the stands at home next Saturday against Old Dominion. In fact, ECU’s first four football games of the season will be at home at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.