Putting the green in the green-and-gold experience
Lot 10 a special place for fans
BY JEFF ASH
SPECIAL TO PACKERLAND TITLETOWN USA
Long gone are the days when you could arrive at the Lambeau Field parking lot, drive almost right up to the green corrugated walls and start tailgating before a Green Bay Packers game.
The renovated Lambeau Field’s footprint and the need for security measures have grown so much over the past 20 years that tailgaters have increasingly been pushed back from the stadium walls, especially on its east side.
Were my friends and I to set up our tailgate today where we did during the ‘80s, we’d be parked somewhere inside the Lambeau Field Atrium.
The south side, though, is a different story.
Just to the south of Lambeau Field, on what used to be a couple of blocks worth of small post-war ranch homes, the Packers have created something wonderful. They bought up a dozen or so of those homes, tore them down and created Lot 10.
Lot 10 is Lambeau Field’s back yard, a grass-covered place to grill out, a place for a picnic, a place to play bean bag toss, a place to throw the football, a place to chill out and have a few beverages before heading in to the game.
Even though it’s just a couple of years old, Lot 10 is a throwback to a time more than 50 years ago when Packers fans set up their pregame picnics in parking lots along the ridge just west of what then was called the new City Stadium.
“We always tailgated in the neighborhood on people’s front lawns for years,” says Lanny Tibaldo, a retired school administrator who lives in De Pere.
When Lot 10 opened, Tibaldo and his group moved their tailgate party there.
“It’s just like picnicking in the back yard,” he says.
Packers fans have quickly come to love Lot 10, the parking attendants say.
They pull into Lot 10, park and start setting up their tailgates. You know the drill. The folding chairs come out. The tables come out. The food comes out. The coolers come out. The cold beverages come out.
On a good day, they do all that under blue skies and glorious sunshine. At night, they gather under the glow of the big Packers G logo high above on the back of the scoreboard on the south end of Lambeau Field. That’s the Packer moon shining over the neighborhood.
Lot 10 is a great place for people watching, even if you do have to step around the occasional bean bag targets as you walk around the Packers’ back yard. Be friendly enough, and someone might offer you something to eat or drink.
“It’s fun just to watch the people walk in, the fans from other teams,” Tibaldo says.
There is no pavement in Lot 10. No pavement to bake you on those warm days at the beginning of the season. Just sweet, cool, soft grass where those ranch homes used to be.
That also is one of the advantages to Lot 10, Tibaldo says.
“You can plant your awning right in the ground,” he says. “On the pavement, you have to anchor it.”
But if the weather doesn’t cooperate, well, having no pavement is quite a different story. Then Lot 10 becomes a glorious mess, something reminiscent of the 1965 NFL championship game against the Browns, or the Dec., 1984, game after which Randy Scott, Rich Wingo and Paul Coffman did belly slides in the mud after beating the Buccaneers, or the Mud Bowl playoff game against the 49ers in Jan., 1997.
Those are just some of the pros and cons of Lot 10.
For Bill St. John, a Green Bay native who now lives in Stevens Point, it starts with a short walk from the stadium. Tibaldo likes that convenience, too. Lot 10 is closest to the Fleet Farm and Shopko gates on the south side of Lambeau Field. It’s also nice to have toilets and hot coal bins close at hand, St. John says.
Lots of people want to get into Lot 10 once they learn about it. However, it holds only 450 vehicles in a backward-L-shaped space bounded by Ridge Road on the west, Valley View Road on the north and Barberry Lane on the south. The best way to get into Lot 10 is to approach it from the south on Ridge Road.
However, St. John says, it can be tough to get out of Lot 10 after a game. You might find yourself firing up your tailgate party for perhaps another two hours after the game, which doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad thing.
The gates to Lot 10, along Ridge Road, swing open four hours before game time. But you’ll need a season parking pass, or you’ll need to go with someone who has one.
Face value is $40, which seems a reasonable price to pay for such a wonderful experience. If you can get in for $40, that is. Lot 10 parking passes for some of this season’s games are going for $100 and up on StubHub.
If you’re OK with that – and that certainly is something to think about, given the increasing cost of attending Packers games – then tailgating in Lambeau Field’s back yard may be for you.
If you worry that the Packers eventually are going to develop that green space for something more lucrative, relax.
“Anything to the south would really be for stadium or football use, not for development,” Packers president Mark Murphy said in 2014.
But construction is underway on Lodge Kohler, the Hinterland Brewery and Restaurant, a Bellin Health Sports Medicine Clinic and other retail and public space in the Titletown District being developed to the west of the stadium.
That will mean increased competition for parking spaces in Lot 10 and elsewhere.