The shooting of two fans and the beating of a third fan at the August 2011 preseason game between Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers led to a big change for tailgaters at Candlestick Park. Now, fans no longer can tailgate after kickoff at 49ers games.
After that outbreak of violence, SB Nation Bay Area wrote of the tailgating ban: “Candlestick has never been in the safest location for an NFL stadium, and it’s probably for the best that there’s no extracurricular activity happening in the parking lot during a football game.”
Aside from the ban on “extracurricular activity” after kickoff, here are nine other things you need to keep in mind if you plan to eat, drink and celebrate before 49ers games at The Stick. These rules and tips are courtesy of the 49ers.
• The interior parking lot opens four hours before kickoff. You’re allowed to park in any available space at that time.
• If you arrive at the interior parking lot within two hours of kickoff, parking staff will point you to a specific parking spot and you’ll be required to park there.
• If you and your fellow tailgaters traditionally park in the same row or area of the interior parking lot, be sure every car in your group gets to the stadium at least two hours before kickoff.
• You can’t reserve parking spaces for other tailgaters. If any members of your tailgating crew arrive at The Stick within three hours of kickoff, they’ll have to park wherever the parking staff directs them.
• One vehicle can’t take up more than one parking space for tailgating.
• Tents or canopies that are bigger than eight feet by eight feet and vehicles that are longer than 17 feet or wider than eight feet aren’t permitted.
• If you’re tailgating with a group that arrived in two cars, park in tandem and tailgate between the vehicles.
• Keep all tables, chairs, coolers, barbecue grills and other tailgating gear within your tailgating group’s parking spot or spots.
• Amplified music or sound isn’t allowed. If you’re caught cranking up the volume on the 49ers fight song, for instance, you could be cited or even kicked out of the parking lot.
“Tailgating is one of the proudest traditions at 49ers games,” the team says on its website, “and we continue to support and promote opportunities for you to enjoy your pre-game festivities.”
Indeed, even after the crackdown on after-kickoff tailgating, fans still enjoy the tailgating scene at The Stick.
In November 2011, one reviewer wrote on Ticketmaster.com: “This was our first NFL game and being huge fans of the 49ers, it was an awesome time. All the fans, tailgate parties and vibes were incredible. The parking attendants all the way to the seating ushers rocked. Everyone was so nice. I’ve been to plenty of college games and haven’t seen this much love for a team. I’m glad we went.”
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
John Egan is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.