For Canadians travelling to Buffalo to check out an NFL game, the concept of tailgating might be one that is quite foreign.
If I am to offer full disclosure, I actually wasn’t sure what it was or even what it entailed until a few years ago when I was astounded by the pre-game activity at Ralph Wilson stadium, more than the actual game itself.
Tailgating is described as party that is held on or around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Originating in the U.S., the activity is best describe as the combination of grilling food and consuming alcoholic beverages prior to major sporting events.
Buffalo Bills fans are said to be some of the best tailgater in the National Football League.
While initially frowned upon, the subculture of tailgating has added a new element to watching a football game. Instead of just showing up on time, as if it was your daughter’s ballet recital, tailgating encourages fans to show up hours before kick-off and engage in a communal environment while expressing support for the same team.
Ralph Wilson Stadium (1 Bills Dr., Orchard Park NY) offers both indoor and outdoor tailgating. The GameDay Experience allows fans access into the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse which opens 3 ½ hours prior to the kickoff of any regular season game. Admission is free and the event features entertainment, concessions, interactive games and exhibits and display areas.
In addition to the indoor The GameDay Indoor Tailgate Party, Bills fans can also take advantage of the outdoor Scoreboard Tail Gate party. This event takes place in Ralph Wilson’s Parking Lot C, under the stadium’s scoreboard along Abbott road. The party features a stage with live music, Jills Cheerleader dance performances, photo opps and chances to win big prizes. There are also games and other giveaways as well.
No open fires are permitted in the Bills parking lots or on stadium grounds. Most tailgating lots have been paved and striped with oversized parking spaces to allow for more tailgating space. Stadium lots open four hours before the game and close two after after the game ends.
To check out the Bills’ regular season schedule, visit BuffaloBills.com