Enjoy a Lions game with the proper planning (Credit: Alonzo Delarte)

Enjoy a Lions game with the proper planning (Credit: Alonzo Delarte)

Before heading down to Ford Field for the face-off between the Lions and the Minnesota Vikings, you wonder, just how early should you get there and what can you do before the game?

If you’re not tailgating at Eastern Market, then consider taking in the free festivities offered in the parking lot just outside Gate A at the stadium. This is where you will find the Bud Light Tailgate going full bore until game time. And as I said before, yes, it is free.

Beginning at 11 a.m. and running until game time at 1 p.m., you will find music to enjoy, activities for the kids and even a few Lions alumni on hand to offer autographs. Even though it is a free event, don’t forget to bring your wallet because there will be inflatable Lions items for sale along with other merchandise, food and beverages.

There is another reason to give the Bud Light Tailgate a try and it’s because of the party’s location. This event takes place just across the street from the stadium. While tailgating, keep an eye on things and when the crowd starts picking up, make a quick exit and get to your seats. Getting into the stadium can take some time and considering there are a few thousand fans trying to do the same, the earlier you get there the better.

Gates A thorough G, and the gate G east bridge all open at 11 a.m., which will get you in the stadium with plenty of time to get comfortable. But as with all sporting events over the past few years, security is much more of a concern and there are rules and regulations that you must follow.

One of the most important warnings is that all attendees “may be subject to inspection.” Be smart about what you have with you and don’t risk bringing anything in that could either be taken away or result in your removal from the stadium. Keep the items that can set off a metal detector to a minimum and have everything out of your pockets and ready to be looked at when you are in line.

There are a few items you cannot bring into the stadium, some of which make sense and some that leave you thinking.

There are no umbrellas allowed, so if it is raining outside, don’t plan on carrying one with you. If you are bringing the little one to their first Lions game, forget the stroller and be prepared to carry the kids in. Also, don’t try to carry in coolers, food and beverages.

Going through the list of what cannot be taken inside the stadium would be too exhaustive, so it is easier to say what you can bring.

  • Binoculars and the case they go in
  • Small cameras with lenses under three inches in length
  • Diaper bags, but only if you have a small child with you
  • Small bags like purses and fanny packs
  • Small radios, but they must be used with an earphone so you don’t disturb other people trying to watch the game

When it comes to leaving the stadium after the game, make sure you know where everyone is supposed to meet. When the mad stampede for the exits begin, it can get a bit confusing and waiting around until “Auntie Em” reappears can be a real drag. Make sure you have a predetermined meeting place outside the stadium just in case someone gets a bit behind.

Now comes the big question. How do you avoid the traffic jam after the game? You have two choices: stay home and watch or listen to the game or listen to traffic reports on WWJ 950 AM, CBS Detroit, which provides traffic updates “On the Eights” of every hour. You can also check traffic on your smart phone at the CBS Detroit website.

Then sit back and talk with your buddies about how hard Vander Bosh hit that guy in the second half.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.


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