“Timing is everything” are wise words that are applicable in a multitude of situations, including tailgating. The avid tailgater is well aware that timing is everything and the novice should be made aware of this as well. When planning an upcoming tailgate, heed this advice from Vikings tailgating veteran Marcus “Mookie” Anderson.
When to arrive at the stadium tailgating lots (for a game at noon): A tailgater should arrive at a designated “purple” tailgating lot no later than 9:30 a.m. Typically, the lots are buzzing with tailgating festivities by 10 a.m. and a later arrival means not only missing out on the action, but potentially missing the beginning of the game due to traffic congestion. Do yourself (and your tailgating party) a favor and arrive early. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re planning on tailgating, plan on arriving 3-4 hours prior to the beginning of a game.
Seasoned, hardcore Vikings tailgaters typically like to arrive before the sun rises and often remain until late in the evening. According to Mookie, “There’s something nostalgic about seeing the sun rise and set from the same view in the tailgate lot before and after a big Vikings win.”
When to head into the stadium to watch the game: Tailgaters should plan on heading into the stadium to find their seats no later than 11:30 a.m. (or no later than a half hour prior to the beginning of the game). Waiting any longer than half an hour prior to the game almost guarantees that you will get stuck in a long line and potentially miss out on pre-game intros and kick-off.
There are those tailgaters (who refer to themselves as the “early faction”) who typically enter the stadium at 11 a.m., effectively avoiding long lines. There are also those who wait until 10 minutes prior to the start of the game before finding their seats (i.e. the “late faction”), usually getting in just before or right after kick-off.
When to plan your exit: Planning your exit is just as important as planning your arrival. As those who have been stuck in event traffic in downtown Minneapolis are well aware (regardless of whether or not you attended said event), mass amounts of people trying to leave a Vikings football game at one time creates major traffic congestion.
According to common sense, it should come as no surprise that the further away you park from the Metrodome, the easier it will be for you to leave. However, if you are tailgating in one of the Purple Lots near the Metrodome, a hasty departure is extremely unlikely (unless you make your exit during the end of the third quarter). Mookie suggests that those tailgating in the Purple Lots should plan on hanging out for a bit after the game; doing so not only avoids annoyingly long waits in traffic, but offers the opportunity to keep the tailgate festivities going.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.