Tailgate Village could mean busier scene in private lots

Bills home opener is Sunday

Mike Baggerman
September 20, 2019 - 3:00 am

Tailgate Village at New Era Field. (WGR Photo/Sal Capaccio)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WBEN) – Private lot owners in Orchard Park near the Buffalo Bills stadium are ready for adjustments thanks to the Buffalo Bills’ new “Tailgate Village”.

The Tailgate Village has been promoted by the Buffalo Bills to fans who are going to games by bus or limo. Instead of tailgating near their vehicle, they will have to opt into the enclosed space and pay anywhere from $300 to $900 for the tailgate package, which includes a tent, tables, chairs, and assistance with setup.

For buses and limos that are not tailgating, the cost to park will remain $100 and for limos with 11 people or less, the parking policy is the same as it was in previous years.

READ: Bills information on Tailgate Village

Eric “Hammer” Matwijow, who operates a private lot on Abbott Road by the stadium, was initially apprehensive about the Tailgate Village because of the flow of people who would come from the village.

“(They have) ten percent of the buses (in the Tailgate Village),” he said. “I’m not really worried about that walk. I’ve always had walk-ins….I always anticipate some people are going to be there but it’s only a short-term load on my property. I’m really not that worried compared to a couple months ago.”

Matwijow said he will not allow any buses on his property.

The cost of the tailgate village might force some potential tailgaters to avoid it and have their tailgate in a private lot.

“We don’t want the issues to be leaving our lots and just happening in other lots,” Andy Major of the Buffalo Bills said. “Nobody wants that. We just want fans to have a great time and tailgate responsibly and be safe.”

Matwijow said he has built a relationship over the years with regular tailgaters who will be in contact with him if any rowdy behavior starts in his lot. Orchard Park Police will also have patrols around private lots.

“This year we definitely notice a difference in bus companies,” Daniel Warmus, who operates the Worm-A-Fix Lot on Abbott Road, said. “They want to rent some space. In our contract, it’s written out. We ain’t jumping off tables. We ain’t jumping off buses. Anybody who is rowdy we are throwing them out and they are not coming back.”

Warmus said his lot hasn’t had a problems other than a few drunk people who were kicked out of the stadium.

According to the Orchard Park Bee, the Town of Orchard Park recently passed a resolution that would prohibit buses that seat at least nine people from parking on residential lots out of fears of damaging infrastructure such as water and gas lines. This change would not impact any businesses that use their lots for stadium parking.

The Bills begin their first home game of the season on Sunday at 1 p.m.


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