Tailgating is all about having good friends, good food and a good time, if you ask Jeremy Carnes.
"It's the chill factor with it," the 24-year-old said. "Everyone's laid back; everyone is having a good time. That's what it's all about."
There was plenty of all three at Sunday's weather-delayed Come-See-Me tailgate party and fireworks show - the grand finale of Rock Hill's 10-day (OK, 11 this year) spring festival.
From mid-afternoon into the evening, the green lawn and parking lot around Winthrop Lake were covered with people firing up their grills, laughing, talking and dancing to music.
Some tossed bean bags and threw Frisbees, and children did cartwheels.
Erika Bell, festival vice chairwoman, said Sunday's weather was beautiful for the event, since most of Saturday's events were postponed to Sunday due to the threat of severe storms.
"We made the right decision to switch from Saturday to Sunday," she said.
The tailgate and fireworks portion usually draws a large crowd between 20,000 and 30,000 people, Bell said.
"We had people waiting at the gates at 3 p.m.," she said.
Though the gates might have opened mid-afternoon, preparation begins much earlier for the seasoned tailgate veteran.
Carnes, his wife Mysha, friend Casey Barnes and more of their family and friends had started preparations at least a day in advance.
This meant marinating the food, Carnes said. Their perfect tailgate food includes shrimp, ribs and some bratwurst Carnes planned to throw on the grill later.
Mysha Carnes, 23, has been coming to the festival's tailgate and fireworks show for more than five years.
"We have to get here early so we can get a good spot," she said, helping turn the propane on for the grill. "We picked a shady area."
She and Barnes, 26, remembered attending last year's rain-soaked show.
"We stayed until they kicked us out," Carnes said.
For friends Derek Robinson, Chad Alley, Matt Johnson and Elizabeth Whittington, preparations began around 10 a.m. with prepping and marinating meat, getting a cooler and table down from the attic and clearing debris from the back of the truck.
And, of course, going to the store and buying beer, joked Alley, 21. He kept close watch on the grill, making sure the bratwursts and burgers weren't overcooking.
Their idea of the perfect tailgate food was burgers and fries, but Robinson, 26, also mentioned steamed oysters - with Saltines and hot sauce - and Boston butt roast.
But for most, Sunday's festival finale wasn't about what they were eating, but with whom they were eating.
"There's not a lot to do in Rock Hill, and we've been looking forward to this," Robinson said. "It's a time where the Rock Hill community can come together and have a good time."
Everybody pitches in
When the thousands of people who attend the Come-See-Me tailgate and fireworks show leave the Winthrop Lake area, someone has to clean up the mess left behind.
The city of Rock Hill hoped to make that job a little easier.
City representatives handed out green bags for trash and recyclable materials.
Environmental educator Elizabeth Morgan said it's about the fifth year the city has done this.
"It's made a big improvement on when people leave," she said. "People have been very receptive to it, and it's a good reminder not to litter."