Buffalo Bills fans rule the tailgating scene. Huge parties with lots of cooking food, drinking beverages, tossing a football, and good times have littered television broadcasts and social media for years. From Pinto Ron and his famous ketchup and mustard to table-jumping crazies, Bills Mafia is undefeated in tailgates.
There are a wide range of private tailgate lots around the stadium that open before dawn for sustained and continued tailgating throughout the game day. These are run by private citizens, sometimes in their own front yards and sometimes as just a big open patch of grass around the stadium. If you want a full weekend of fun, the Buffalo Bills are the only NFL stadium with a team-owned camper lot that’s open for a multi-day stay at the stadium.
In Orchard Park, there’s no need to park at a private campground and walk to the tailgate or rent a space to tailgate away from your campground. There’s no need to pull in with your camper at 8 a.m. on game day or pay for multiple parking spots at once. All you need is a season-long pass to the Bills’ camp lot.
For $800, you can buy a season pass for all ten home games. (They are available on the resale market but they’re not always easy to find.) They moved to the season pass after the popularity on the single games became overwhelming for the ticket and parking lot attendants each and every week.
Starting at 8:00 a.m. on the day before the game you can start arriving and you need to be out by 2:00 p.m. on the day after the event. Three days and two nights of fun for every game. That takes tailgating to a whole new level. You can even bring your pets.
Portable toilets are available and you can run a generator at your site, but there is no permanent bathroom or electrical hookups.
Back in 2017, one of the first things head coach Sean McDermott did was go out to the camper lot on the beautiful morning of an October game to meet some fans before the game.
Pinto Ron, pictured below during his ketchup and mustard ceremony before the game, doesn’t miss Bills games. Period. He shows up with his Pinto which is tricked out for tailgating, including various ways to cook food using strange objects like shovels and army helmets and the body of the vehicle. Over the years, the ketchup shower has evolved and is a great representation of the silly fun of tailgating. He’s also famous for handing out cherry vodka shots from a bowling ball.
Table-jumping has become a mainstay on social media, but it’s not a requirement for entry into the Bills Mafia. Folding table sales go up in every city the Bills visit, and the WWE-inspired moves can come at a price beyond a trip to your local big-box store. If you want my advice for jumping through tables, it’s pretty succinct: Don’t. The metal hardware in the table is bad news.
Food and drinks vary on a group-to-group basis. Some fans will bring a deep fryer and do their own wings in the parking lot, but that’s certainly not the norm. There are grills going all the time with traditional cookout fare like hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausages. Subs are another common food you can make ahead of time and bring without having to lug a grill.
Buffalo and Rochester are craft beer towns, and you can certainly find a wide variety of the good stuff at games including beers named for the team, fans, and players. Labatt Blue is probably the most popular macrobrew you’ll find in the lots on game day, but it’s far from the only one. They recently released a seltzer to honor Bills QB1.