Thousands of fans tailgate for Cardinals season opener

Sep 9, 2012, 6:26 PM | Updated: 10:06 pm

Thousands of fans packed the University of Phoenix stadium to watch the Cardinals take on the Seahawks, but before the game many of them gathered to tailgate.

The Great Lawn opened at 9:00 a.m. and the fans were lined up, waiting in their cars. All of them were excited to kick off the season at 1:25 p.m.

Don Brown said this is his seventh year tailgating and he and his family come prepared.

“We’ve got our tables, coolers, a fan for my sister because it gets hot. This year we’re having sub sandwiches because it’s hot.”

The preparation and planning ahead is worth it for hard core fans. They lugged in lawn chairs, tables, tents and everything required to make food and drinks.

Tom Gingrass from Avondale said comfort is key.

“We’ve got us a good Cardinal “easy-up” with the wall that goes in the back and extra canopy,” Gingrass said. “Ten friends to celebrate my birthday. We’ve got good food and good fun!”

Most fans said they come for food, family and fun.

“I get to be with all my friends and people I consider family,” Brian Wagner said.

And Cards fans are serious about their food. Some groups serve gourmet dishes, some of which are even considered fine dining.

Larry Hennessy’s tailgating group is called “House of Cards” and they’ve won state championships for their food. It’s not your traditional burgers and hot dogs and the menu changes every week.

“Today we’re doing smoked salmon, shrimp and we’ve got something called cooler corn where you put it in a cooler with hot water,” Hennessy said.

One group even made fresh cheesecake in the middle of the lawn.

The game was sold out. The Cards won 20-16.

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Thousands of fans tailgate for Cardinals season opener