A licensed street festival on Front between Blue Jays Way and John St. will precede the Bills-in-Toronto NFL game a week from Sunday, it was announced Tuesday.
The Buffalo Bills play host to the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 16 at 4:05 p.m. at the Rogers Centre.
The Bud Light Pre-Game Festivities go from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no entry fee, nor does anyone need a ticket to the game to enter the area.
Festivities include a main stage with live music, food vendors, NFL merchandise booths, football-skill participation areas, Kiss 92.5 FM personalities Mocha & DJ Clymaxxx, Bills alumni and the Bills mascot (Billy Buffalo).
“There’s food, there’s beverage, there’s stuff for kids to do. So it’s going to be a fan and family experience,” said Greg Albrecht, executive director of Bills-in-Toronto.
That’s not all. The highlights for hardcore NFL fans? Why the cheerleaders, big-screen TVs and beer, of course.
That is, an appearance by the Buffalo Jills cheerleaders, large screens showing various 1 p.m. NFL games and the new, more lax festival alcohol licence.
“We do have a festival licence, which enables people to have beer not in a (small) beer garden, but in a (wider) area,” Albrecht said. “That’s a new law that came to pass in July, so we’re capitalizing on that.
“In the past when you had any kind of licensed area, it had to be fenced in, you had to be of legal drinking age to get in, you had to buy a ticket to get a beer, and then you go to the bar to get your beverage.”
The new festival event licence, however, allows multiple service points for alcohol, as well as entry by people of all ages, Albrecht said.
“Quite honestly, we don’t really have a culture of tailgating in this province or in this city,” Albrecht said. “But we certainly have a lengthy history and pedigree for having fun in having large street parties — be it the Taste of the Danforth, or the Grey Cup that just passed.
“From my perspective, that’s really the way to go here in Toronto — getting away from trying to compare ourselves to a Buffalo experience.
“They’re very distinct experiences, but I think equally as fun.”