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Trisha Yearwood kicks of tailgating party at Notre Dame campus

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Just over two months since Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks were helping to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, they’re back at Notre Dame to put on the first concert at Notre Dame Stadium.

Prior to Saturday’s event, Yearwood will be putting on Trisha’s Tailgate, an exclusive fan experience that sold out weeks ago. About 1,500 people are expected to attend.

Yearwood said she and her husband are beyond excited to be back in FIghting Irish Country.

“It doesn’t matter what team you cheer for, there’s something really magical about Notre Dame so just being here, standing on the Irish Green is pretty amazing,” Yearwood said. “We’re honored to be here.”

The exclusive tailgate is the first of its kind before a Garth Brooks concert. Yearwood said it could possibly happen again, but it will be pretty hard to replicate.

“The staff has been amazing. This is going to be really tough to follow if we do it again because everyone has been so incredible,” she said. “This is a tent, but it looks like a house. It’s really like a mini wine and food festival.”

Local Notre Dame wines will be available for tasting, Breville will be hand tossing and cooking pizzas for fans to sample and lots of food and drinks will all be included. She said some of her favorites are pimento cheese nachos, blueberry bars and hot chicken sliders. Yearwood said lots of her recipes were converted into mini bites for the tailgate.

A drink being featured is Autumn in a Cup by Williams Sonoma and Trisha’s Kitchen. It’s an apple, pomegranate, pear and cinnamon that can be served hot or cold, with vodka or without.

“Notre Dame knows how to tailgate, but this, Trisha has brought it to an entire, new level, just completely over the top,” said Ashley Zingo, Director of Event Services at Notre Dame. “Guests are able to sample Trisha’s recipes all throughout the tailgate.”

Local vendors also helped to put on the tailgate. Cher Goggins from “Marry Me Events” in Edwardsburg, Mich., said they were tasked to design the tent in six weeks.

“It was an opportunity that of course we couldn’t say no to we are so excited,” Goggins said. “We did the whole design, the flowers, the decorating, we’re designing, putting some finishing touches on. We’re a local company so we’re thrilled that Trisha and her team trusted us to be able to do something this massive.”

Goggins said they have two other weddings on campus Saturday because it is an off weekend for football, but they are all hands on deck and ready to be part of the tailgate experience.

If you go to the tailgate, you might get a chance to meet Yearwood, too.

“I’m going to be here for part of it kind of going through the stations and kind of saying hey to everybody,” she said. “I’m excited like I said this is my first one so hopefully this is the first of many.”

Yearwood said one of the things she loves about country music is the artists enjoy interacting with and meeting fans.

“I’m a big people person,” she said. “I like to know why people like the music, why people like the food and especially with the cooking show I have been out and about with that and people always what to share a recipe or tell you something of mine that worked which always makes me happy. So I like it and it really makes me happy and you learn that we’re all the same everywhere.”

Yearwood was already out Saturday morning greeting her fans, taking selfies and giving hugs to all who visited.

Trisha’s Tailgate is from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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