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You’ve got to experience a Lambeau Field tailgate at least once

It’s an NFL rite of passage, especially in the winter.

Syndication: Green Bay Press-Gazette Ebony Cox/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Tailgating at Lambeau Field is almost a rite of passage in Wisconsin. You’re not a full-fledged cheesehead until you’ve done it.

That’s to say that grilling out at Lambeau Field is much more than just a way to spend time before heading into the stadium. It’s a way of life and an experience in and of itself. Tailgating at Lambeau Field is something every football fan should experience, regardless of what team they are loyal to.

In fact, that’s what makes the tailgating experience at Lambeau Field so special: the camaraderie. For those hours before, during, and after the game, everyone is just a Packers fan. Political, religious, and whatever other differences we so often fight over are set aside, and everyone is just one big happy and united family.

Heck, you’re even family if you’re wearing the opponent’s colors. You might get a hard time from the Packers faithful, but even that gives way to decorum, and before you know it you’re sharing a beer and a brat with strangers who suddenly become friends.

That leads to another great thing about tailgating at a Packers game: It’s not limited to Lambeau Field! Everyone tends to focus on the stadium, but thanks to the unique residential area surrounding the stadium, sometimes you find great tailgating in people’s front yards as you walk to the game. There are multiple people who will park you in their backyard and then generously offer you some food in the front! It’s truly the kind of hospitality that we have lost as a culture over the past few decades and something we need to recapture year-round and not solely during football season.

In terms of expected cuisine, it’s not a Packers tailgate without beer (Spotted Cow is popular but by no means the only option) and bratwurst. The combination is basically its own food group, and sorry if this sounds stereotypical to a Packers fan but it’s just the truth. Burgers are of course another popular option as well.

All of this is regardless of the weather. Grills are excellent sources of heat when the temperature falls lower than the Vikings’ chances of winning a Super Bowl, and don’t think subzero temperatures will stop Packers fans from their sacred tailgating duties. The colder the weather, the more fun the tailgating experience.

Does this sound crazy to you? Trust us, the best way to experience the Frozen Tundra is just that: frozen. The mystique of Lambeau in person is enhanced in the winter months, and maybe memories of the Ice Bowl have something to do with that, but cold weather tailgates are some of the most memorable because they are often the most far-fetched.

In conclusion, should you make the pilgrimage to Lambeau Field this year, be it this fall or winter, you’re guaranteed to have a good time whether you’re grilling in the parking lot by the stadium or in someone’s front yard off of Oneida Street. That’s the best thing about attending a Packers game. The atmosphere isn’t contained to just the immediate area surrounding the stadium. It permeates the houses and businesses for miles.

That’s what makes the Packers game day experience so unique in the NFL. In many stadiums, you exit the building and you’re instantly in a downtown area surrounded by traffic and billboards as far as the eye can see.

In Green Bay, once you leave Lambeau Field it’s just houses and smaller businesses. It’s a callback to an era long since gone in American sports.

From a tailgating perspective, it’s truly a place where time has stood still. Everyone is your friend, and all that matters is at that moment in time you’re all fans of the Green Bay Packers.

Coming to a Packers game and experiencing the tailgating culture will restore your faith in humanity for the briefest of moments before you go back to work the following day.

That’s truly special and Green Bay, Wisconsin is a truly special place.