The Cleveland Browns haven't always been great on the field but their fans have done a darn good job of having fun off the field. Browns fans know how to tailgate and do so very well, even in freezing temperatures and even colder scores by the home team. Fans have their rituals, have their community and have their fun in ways that make it all very uniquely Cleveland.
The Municipal (or Muni) Lot has been a big part of these tailgate traditions for years. Last year we heard rumblings that rules were going to change and today we got the official release from City Hall:
- No open pit fires
- Propane grills only (No charcoal)
- No alcohol
- Saving spaces is prohibited
- You will be charged for all parking spaces that you occupy
- No in & out privileges
- All litter must be dispensed in trash containers
- Vandalism of any type will not be tolerated
- Crossing the shoreway is prohibited
- No private latrines.
Unlikely some of these rules go over well, even if some of them aren't actually new. Most experience grill-masters like the use of charcoal far more than that of propane. Charcoal tends to be more flavorful, especially when cooking meats.
Many fans like to save spaces, even if it is just for a few minutes so their friends (their community) can continue their traditions tailgating before games. This could cause problems for friends and families who have tailgated together for years.
Some of the rules make a lot of sense: Pick up your trash, don't vandalize and paying for how many spaces you occupy. The first two shouldn't even have to be written as rules, we all should know not to litter or vandalize right? They are kind of laws. The rule about spaces isn't great but is understandable from a financial perspective.
Did I miss anything?
Oh yeah, #3 NO ALCOHOL, which they also highlighted in the picture of the sign in the article we linked to, is confusing. While not everyone who tailgates drinks, every tailgate has alcohol involved. Okay, maybe not EVERY but very close. That leaves people with two options: Tailgate elsewhere or try to get away with it. Neither one is great and is likely to result in some stories: "Muni lot empty on game day" or "10 arrested in Muni lot for violating rules, resisting officers."
While alcohol has been illegal to use on public property for some time (always?), at tailgates police have often turned a blind eye. The highlighting of the rule above seems to indicate that will stop.
While the city has to be careful and concerned about the size, passion and drunk nature of tailgating, some of these rules are going to make things worse before they get better.
Interested to hear your thoughts in the forum.