GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Parked cars and tents were in place at Aloha Stadium for yesterday's UH football game. Stadium officials began stricter enforcement of rules calling for one car per space at yesterday's game, not allowing people to take up space with tents and grills.
Tailgate turf war
Aloha Stadium officials are making sure that only vehicles are parked in stalls during UH games
Arist de Wolff and his group of friends usually meet at noon near Aloha Stadium on University of Hawaii game days two and a half hours before the parking gates open just so they can find a space in prime tailgating territory.
"It's a full race," de Wolff said. "We have to be on our game to get these spots."
To make sure more people get a chance, not only to tailgate, but to find a place to park, Aloha Stadium officials began enforcing a rule of one car per space and not allowing people to take up prized parking real estate with tents and grills.
The action came after fans at the first home game complained about other fans taking up empty parking spaces, said stadium deputy director Lois Manin.
"It's no secret we only have 8,000 stalls to accommodate a 50,000-seat facility," she said.
During the yesterday's game, Manin said she wasn't aware of any problems enforcing the tailgating rules.
Sheriffs and parking staff rode golf carts around looking for violations, and police were also present.
"We're very appreciative of the effort everybody made to comply with the tailgating policy," she said. "With the season that UH is having, it's only going to get more challenging."
Last night's attendance was about 34,101, compared to 36,845 at the Sept. 1 home game. More fans are expected to show up when Hawaii plays bigger name opponents, especially if the team keeps winning.
While there were several dozens of tents in the Halawa parking lot, few people said they had problems with the rules. Many fans placed tents behind their vehicles and made more room by parking vehicles back to back in adjacent rows.
Several fans, like Nate Lanco of Hawaii Kai, erected tents at the end of the parking row.
"We haven't really had any problem," he said.
Lenny Wright, a Waimanalo resident and friend of de Wolff, said he is used to the strict rules for tailgating at Aloha Stadium. He has been tailgating since 1999 and said veteran tailgaters know to keep their tents out of empty lots.
He recalled how, before Sept. 11, 2001, fans could park under the H-1 Freeway overpass at 9:30 a.m. and tailgate until the stadium gates opened. That was later stopped.
"We learned to adapt," he said.
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