Any football game encompassing the name Fiesta Bowl has to be a good time. When No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Stanford meet in Glendale, AZ (10 miles northwest of Phoenix) on Monday, Jan. 2, the “Party” Bowl will be firing on all cylinders. An expected 100,000 non-ticket holders are expected to join the University of Phoenix Stadium’s capacity crowd of 63,030 people. The weather forecast is calling for mid-70s temperatures and sunny skies, an ideal climate for partying at an all-time high. Here are five things to look for as you head to the Arizona desert.
1) TICKETS PLEASE
Despite this being the second-best bowl on the docket with a pair of one-loss teams, a good chunk of tickets are still available for the 41st edition of the Fiesta Bowl, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. local time. Big 12 champion Oklahoma State, which is led by 28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden, is a team that many thought should be playing for the national championship. Stanford is led by QB Andrew Luck, the soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, who has a 23-2 record over the past two seasons. Tickets for this showdown can be purchased at StubHub.com, starting at $60 a pop.
2) FEEL THE MUSIC
If you’re getting into town on Saturday, there are a couple of musical events that you’ll want to check out. Everybody loves a parade, and Saturday’s Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade in Central Phoenix is pretty cool. The two-mile parade, starting 11 a.m., is chock full of amazing floats, balloons, bands and “spirited specialty and equestrian units.”
The Fiesta Bowl Block Party starts a few hours later at 5 p.m. at the Mill Avenue District in Tempe. For $20 you can join the one million partygoers that have already seen this boatload of bands in all different musical genres from folk to country to hard rock. This year there will be an Electronic Dance Club for those wanting to bust a move and the Block Party also includes magic shows, BMX bike demos and fireworks.
3) VISIT WESTGATE
When game day arrives, large throngs of fans, say 100 grand or so, will congregate in the outdoor shopping district near Phoenix Stadium called the Westgate City Center. Bars and restaurants abound in this area surrounding Fiesta Bowl Drive. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Shane’s Rib Shack are both offering satellite express locations for fans to get their food faster. And since ‘tis is the time for giving, each of the plaza’s fountains will become wishing wells for the two teams, with all the money going to the city’s From the Heart program, which helps Glendale’s families and seniors in need. Game parking at Westgate will run you $30.
4) ULTIMATE TAILGATE
Game sponsor Tostitos also throws what they call the “ultimate tailgate” which kicks off at 12:30 p.m. in the north orange lot of University of Phoenix Stadium. An admission of $20 gets you a “tailgate-inspired” meal and the ability to partake in pep rallies, cheerleader watching, band listening with giant Jumbotrons displaying team highlights. Food and beverage stations are set up throughout the area and all ages are welcome.
5) SAVE SOME DOUGH
Just like the Cheers gang’s rival bar owned by Gary, Glendale too has an Old Town tavern, with some extra “e’s” thrown in for good measure. Olde Towne Glendale Wine & Beer Bar on 5745 W. Glendale Ave. (4 miles from the stadium) is much nicer than Gary’s dive bar. Olde Towne will open its doors at 11 a.m. and offer two-for-one draft beers for anybody wearing Stanford or Oklahoma State team colors. And if you can’t hit the bar because of your kids, go check out the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, at 16501 W. Northern Avenue in nearby Litchfield Park, AZ. Opening at 9 a.m., each person that mentions the Fiesta Bowl gets $4.00 off their admission price.