Tuesday, the party continued.
It began late Monday night after Auburn University’s football team beat Oregon 22-19 to win the BCS Championship game. Fans came to Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala., and covered the trees there with toilet paper, as is tradition after a big win. Only this time, the thousands who rushed into the street papered trees for more than a block, as well as lampposts, traffic lights and parking meters.
On Tuesday, more fans arrived to marvel at the result and to add some more rolls.
The paper was so thick that some trees branches weren’t visible. There was so much paper on the ground beneath the trees that in spots it was like walking on a mattress.
On a cold, windy day children of all ages played in the paper as though it were snow, while many snapped pictures to capture the moment. People took photographs of the trees. They took photographs of their families and friends. They took photographs of other people taking photographs.
“Give me a No. 1,” one mother told her child as she aimed her camera. Another mom wrapped her daughter in toilet paper before shooting.
A seemingly never ending stream of cars, many with honking horns, moved slowly down College Street and Magnolia Avenue. When traffic stalled, someone would jump out of a vehicle to take a photo or to quickly hug someone. People mobbed the nearby book stores as shirts emblazoned with the words “National Champions” didn’t stay on a rack long, and replacements were being brought up front constantly. Many customers donned their new shirt before leaving the store.
“This is great. What a beautiful sight. We’ve been needing something like this,” said Eddie Frazier, pushing a hanging piece of toilet paper away from his face. The retired plant worker was born and raised in Auburn and was just 4 years old the last time Auburn finished No. 1 in 1957.
“I don’t remember much about that but the celebration was nothing like this,” he said.
Frazier, a familiar face at Auburn games, said he can’t remember a bigger day in town.
“This team got down at times but we fans never lost faith,” he said. “This is quite a party.”
Sharon Standridge armed herself with a leaf blower with a paint roller attached to the end of it. By placing a roll of toilet paper on the roller, she was able to shoot the paper high into the trees. She uses the device at football games at Oneonta (Ala.) High School, where she is the assistant principal.
Fans cheered as she stood on top of a brick wall, part of the Auburn gateway, and let a shot go.
Standridge, who actually graduated from the University of Alabama, arrived in Auburn from the city north of Birmingham on Monday to watch the game at the Skybar Cafe near Toomer’s Corner.
“I just wanted to be here,” said Standridge, as a man rode by on a unicycle. “I felt like we were going to win and wanted to be a part of all of this. It doesn’t happen often. What an impact this will have.”
Around 11 a.m. Ronald White arrived for the party but he didn’t bring a leaf blower. He brought a rake.
“Time to start getting this cleaned up,” said White, who works for Rite Way Service, the Birmingham company with the responsibility of getting the toilet paper out of the trees. “This is going to be a full day job, at least.”
And he and other crew members weren’t even going to work on trees. That work is done by attaching a power sprayer to the fire hydrant and shooting the paper off the limbs with a hard stream of water.
“Too many people here to do that,” he said, finding it difficult to take a step without bumping into somebody.
After more than a dozen large plastic bags had been filled with toilet paper, he noticed it had hardly made a dent in the total.
“Like I said, it will take awhile,” he said.
Enjoying the fun was Katie Wittnebel, a sophomore geology major at Auburn. Watching the toilet paper action from across the street, she recalled what it was like to see Auburn beat Oregon. As she spoke, the chimes of Samford Hall played the Auburn fight song.
“You know, there just aren’t words to describe what it was like,” she said. “The win was legit. The Auburn family has really come together. The scene here today is unbelievable. Everyone should see this.”