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Old Dominion football fans tailgate for first time on home turf since pandemic began

So much excitement and energy led up to Old Dominion University's home game on Saturday.

NORFOLK, Va. — Old Dominion University hosted a bunch of fun activities and food vendors for fans to check out before Saturday's game against Hampton University.  

On Kaufman Mall,  families, students and alumni geared up for the showdown. For the first time in nearly two years, the football program hosted a home game. In fact, it was the first-ever game experience for some fans because of the pandemic.  

RELATED: ODU rolls past Hampton, 47-7, in Head Coach Rick Rahne's home debut

Three students told 13NewsNow they were pumped with energy. 

"It's so exciting," said sophomore Olivia Picone. "It's great." 

"Yeah, super exciting because even though I'm a junior, I came in as a sophomore. So, this is my first real college experience," said Kelsey Stanley. 

Credit: Joseph Davis, 13News Now

"I did my freshman year here. I only had half a year because of COVID. So, it feels kind of weird to be back out because I don't really know what normal is all the way. But I like it, it's cool," said junior Jai Lewis.

For Dachelle Jones, of Gloucester, Saturday meant a chance to support her sister who is a cheerleader at ODU.

"It feels great to be supporting her today. She's been a cheerleader for a long time. So, her first game home, we couldn't miss it," she said. 

Jones’ daughter, Kennedi, dressed for the festivities too. 

"My auntie got this," said Kennedi, while showing off her cheerleading outfit. 

"It's great to see everybody come together and try to support the Monarchs and be out here," said Jones. 

Silver Lot was also packed with food and drink booths, along with fans. 

WATCH OUR "SHOWDOWN: MONARCHS VS. PIRATES" SPECIAL: On YouTube

Credit: Joseph Davis, 13News Now