One of the highlights to any sporting event is the pre-game ritual. Fans don their team’s jersey, paint their faces and tailgate outside the stadium – cooking arena food that includes burgers and dogs, while gulping down icy beverages, throwing the pigskin and listening to music as the minutes tick down to the start of the event. The tailgate is as much part of the game as the action itself.
Those in Silicon Valley are no stranger to tailgating, and with the addition of Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clarans can now participate in their own backyard. For those who want the food and fun of pre-game partying, but have little desire to set up or breakdown a grill, fill an ice chest full of beverages and put together a meal for the masses, there’s the Red Zone Rally, a new venue that opened at California’s Great America prior to the 49ers home pre-season game. Best of all, it caters to football fans.
“The tailgating here is as good as it gets,” said California’s Great America Public Relations Manager Roger Ross. “You can want to cook your own food, but you’re better off getting this food. We have shrimp trays and carving stations, which have prime rib. For the morning group, we have a breakfast bar with chorizo and eggs. So, you name it, it’s all here. Food, sodas and beer and wine are all included in the one price.”
While the beer and wine flowed, guests sampled everything from salads and a gourmet cheese tray to breakfast burritos, sandwiches and desserts.
“We made a significant investment in this,” said Ross, who declined to state the actual amount put into revamping the space. “It used to be a small, covered area and now you can hold corporate events, product launches and holiday parties here … I think people need to see the 40 plus TVs, including a 90 inch TV. You don’t think of floor-to-ceiling fireplaces at Great America, but we now have that … We have alumni coming here too. For 49ers alumni, this will be a designated hangout for them. They can come by, enjoy it, interact with fans and have a good time.”
OTR provided live music throughout the three-hour event. Sourdough Sam stopped by to mingle with the Peanuts characters, and members of the Gold Rush performed and took photos with fans. Guests were even invited to take a ride on Great America’s Flight Deck.
“This is a great party,” said Lance Zenobia of Alameda who won tickets to attend from KFOX and was one of the nearly 1,000 people to enter the Zone. “I got an email on Friday after entering the contest. It’s pretty I-N for a football pregame.”
Tickets to the Red Zone Rally are $85 and have been marketed to season ticketholders, but those with game day tickets are also welcome.
“It’s been a lot of fun putting this together,” said Ross. “The Niners have been great partners. Everyone is talking about the synergy between Great America and the 49ers, and this actually shows us working together. The relationship is going really well.”
Red Zone Rally, although developed as a pre-game spot for those with tickets to the games, can be rented for events, with 18,000 square feet of inside space that can be manufactured based on need and almost two acres of open space outside.
Visit www.cagreatamerica.com/what-s-new/ga-pavilion for more information.