A travel piece about Knoxville, Tennessee, that I wrote for Charlotte magazine’s October issue about college towns.
ON GAME DAY at the University of Tennessee, there’s only orange. Orange checkered overalls, orange foam fingers, orange-painted bare chests with a “V,” “O,” “L,” or “S”—short for the Tennessee Volunteers. Instead of red Solo cups, cups here are orange.
A barrage of “Good Ol’ Rocky Top” permeates past Neyland Stadium—one of the largest college football stadiums, holding more than 100,000—through downtown Knoxville, and to TVs across the state.
This parade of school spirit took a different form in the spring of 1974, though, when students ditched the orange and opted for nude. When a streaking fad took over American colleges in the 1970s, Walter Cronkite singled out the University of Tennessee, and Knoxville by proxy, as the ultimate hub of the sport. This was after more than 5,000 students left their textbooks and clothing behind and ran down the mile-long Cumberland Avenue—also known as The Strip.
Photo by CSFOTOIMAGES