MILWAUKEE - Tailgating is back at the American Family Field -- just in time for the Brewers to take on the Cubs.
Fans coming to the ballpark to cheer on the Brew Crew are now welcome to tailgate with those seated in their designated pods. The updated policy will be in effect beginning with this week’s series against the Chicago Cubs, April 12-15.
Tailgating will be allowed at single vehicles for those sitting in the same seating pod. Fans will need to remain in the immediate vicinity of their vehicle.
Parking gates will open three hours in advance of the game, except for 6:40 p.m. weekday games in which parking gates open two and a half hours in advance.
Tailgating activities must end thirty minutes after the game starts. All fans must enter American Family Field at this time or they will be evicted from the premises.
There were cheers when the parking lot opened, with fans eager to light up their grills.
"Honestly, it’s been, 'cause I do a lot of tailgating, so going like, a year and a half without it is really upsetting, just kind of staying home watching the games," said Colton Armijo. "Now, it’s really good to be back in the environment atmosphere."
Parking lot attendants used more of the 12,000 parking spots available at American Family Field, and fans -- with a little more room to spread out -- don't seem to mind.
It might as well be opening day 2.0.
"We got here at 2:30 to get in line, so we were sitting in line for a while," Brewers fan Brad Creighton said.
Fans lining up outside American Family field to get in as soon as they can — and let the parking lot party begin!
"We bought tickets before we knew tailgating was gonna be allowed, and we were kinda bummed that it wasn't. But when we got the email that it was, we were all in," Creighton said.
He and his friends made the trip from Neenah...
They're ok with the new rules -- set by the Brewers and the city health department to keep the tradition safe.
Like putting an extra space between cars — and keeping to their ticketed pods.
"As a tailgater, selfishly, it gives us a little more room. But, you've got the option. I feel like if I don't want to be around somebody, I don't have to be. I'm not forced to be around people that I'm not here with, and that does give me a little bit of comfort," he said.
Fans tell us, if nothing else, there's a sentimental value in being back outside the ballpark.
"Yeah, no, it feels like old times. Not much has changed. It's hard to believe it's been a year-and-a-half since I've been at a ballgame, but it feels good," David Keach said.
Even if they have to follow new rules -- and share the space with their rivals.
"Even if there's too many Cubs fans here, but yeah, you definitely feel the excitement in the air," Creighton said.
In last week's decision, Mayor Tom Barrett noted the city felt it would be safer for fans to tailgate outdoors, than crowding some of the city's bars.
Fans told us they agree and are certainly happy to be back.
For more information on tailgating this season, visit brewers.com/tailgating.