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Tailgating: #1 Tailgating in the American Association --and the World?

Photo of tailgaters
Just one of the many rows of tailgating at Midway Stadium

One memory nearly all visitors have of Midway Stadium is the smell of all the food cooking in the parking lot! Nearly everyone (including yours truly) has a grill and something different cooking from the usually "bratwurst and burgers" to smoked ribs, shrimp, salmon, --you name it. There are dozens and dozens of patio umbrellas, small tents, picnic tables, and hundreds of coolers, chairs, etc. The Midway's parking lot is a true portable feast that starts when the lot opens three hours before game time.

Photo of regular tailgaters
Just some of regular tailgaters at the Midway

Tailgating is allowed only in the main stadium parking lot! NO other parking lots allow tailgating.

It's so popular there was a daily contest for the "Broken Bat Award" for the best tailgaters in the lot as determined by members of the Saints team. Some enjoy it so much they don't even go into the game. So plan to at least walk around the lot since a visit to Midway Stadium is not complete without the tailgating experience.

If you tailgate, please keep in mind that you don't (and won't) get to keep the parking places near you. It is easier for all if you keep your grill and picnic gear directly in front of or behind your car. Also keep in mind that every game has major tailgating groups using the peripheral space along the railroad tracks and around most parking places.

NOTE: Coolers, food and drink are NOT allowed in the stadium. If you plan to eat your own food, do so before going in.

Tailgating Do's & Don'ts

Photos of tailgating party
Tailgating in 1994

If you tailgate, please keep in mind that you don't (and won't) get to keep the parking places near you. When the lot finally fills (which it always does during the season) the flag men will come along and direct you to move your chairs, coolers, grills, or whatever to fill every available. It is easier for all if you keep your grill and picnic gear directly in front of or behind your car.

If you need a lot of space, try getting spaces near the ends of the rows and use the "islands" (south end) or space along the grass (to the west next to the neighboring Minnesota Wire building, and north along the fence near the train tracks). Some even haul their grills and coolers over to the grass near the parking entrance to have some space.

Photo of fan getting arm stamped
Get your hand stamped
before you return to the parking lot
after getting your "Free Stuff"

Free & Easy Re-entry

Don't worry if there's a giveaway you really want. If you're early enough to park in the main lot you can easily go through the turn styles after the gate opens and get your "gift." Have the policeman (or Saints staff) stamp the back of your hand for free re-entry by leaving through the gate next to the turn styles. You can now go back into the stadium when you choose and finish partying.

Remember all the accessories you'll need:

Photo of father and son
Dad and son playing "pepper" before a game ('99)

There are several "portapotties" around the lot. One set is in the northeast corner near the train tracks and near the entrance to the Hard Ball Cafe and Midway Grill. Another set is along the southwest end of the lot near the parking entrance.

Several trash bins and one specifically for charcoal ash are at the ends of each row of parking. Most of these are at the south side of the lot. If you're using charcoal, please dump it in the receptacles.

NOTE: Coolers, food and drink are NOT allowed in the stadium. If you plan to eat your own food, do so before going in.

"O.J." - "The Can Man"

Phot of O. J. the can man
O.J. collecting cans (2001)

As you walk around the parking lot you may notice many locals throwing their beers cans "into the middle of the street." While this may appear to be littering, the fact is it's because they know that "O. J." is on the job and those cans will be gone before the game is through.

O. J. (obviously no relation to the infamous football player) strolls through the entire lot with a large trash can strapped a moving dolly. He has his "can picker upper" to save his back and collects cans everywhere around the ballpark and lot. Kids and fans sometimes play "basketball" with their empties.

O. J. is not homeless nor does he keep the money from recycling the aluminum. The money he collects goes to a veteran friend of his who needs it.

To really help him, don't throw your empty cans into the trash. He will pick out a lot of the cans in there too, but it is a lot of bother. Also crush them, preferably into a "hockey puck" (so they take up less space) and kick them into the middle of the aisles. You can go even further and group them into piles so he can collect several at one stop.