RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Thursday night lights shined bright on Carter-Finley Stadium as tens of thousands of fans packed in for North Carolina State’s season-opening football game.
Fans filled out the parking areas Thursday afternoon to tailgate. They eventually packed the stands close to kickoff to watch the Wolfpack football team take the field.
This time last year, N.C. State senior Memphis Slade-Credle said he was watching the game from home.
“Sitting in my room and staring at my computer. Now I’m out here,” he said.
Fans were thinking about their safety, as well as the game.
“I feel pretty safe going in tonight,” said Mackenzie Jackson, who was hanging out at a tailgate area.
Justin Gentry and his family came to watch their son Thornton play. They tailgated at a distance from others.
“Big tailgate fan. Big college football fan, and we are excited,” he said smiling.
Tony Pennix also decided to tailgate at a distance. Pennix also opted to wear a mask at the game.
“I feel pretty safe. We are both vaccinated. We are still going to wear our masks when we enter the stadium, and we are going to continue to stay our 6 feet distance. That’s the best we can do,” Pennix said.
Some decided to wear masks entering the stadium. Many chose not to.
This season, N.C. State has no set capacity limit inside Carter-Finley Stadium.
The school said face coverings are not required for people who are vaccinated, but they are encouraged — especially in big crowds.
Anyone not fully vaccinated? The school suggests they should continue wearing a face covering.
A spokesperson for N.C. State confirmed in an email that 68 percent of students, 85 percent of faculty and 67 percent of staff have shown proof of vaccination as of Sept. 1.