#5 of 31: Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, North Carolina

September 18, 2011


Football Season is finally here. The lockout ended on July 25th, with the only casualty being the cancellation of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. The boring games that compromise the pre-season are over, and now it’s time for the real thing. Our weeks will have organization and meaning again, an arc, if you will.


No more will we need to watch the NFL Network where, in a desperate attempt to enliven their programing they have been running shows with titles like, “The Top Ten Best Running Plays From the Second Best Second Down Plays of All time.”

GAMEDAY: CAROLINA PANTHERS vs GREEN BAY PACKERSAt last, here we are again - tailgating. Today we are with the Carolina Panther Fans in Charlotte, North Carolina. Only thing is, at times it feels more like a Packers game. In the RV parking lot, where we spent the night, we were completely surrounded by road tripping Packer’s fans. The decorations these mobile fans put out felt more like Christmas than football...although the colors were green and yellow.

Photo Gallery: Panther Fans Early Morning



This morning we set out bright and early to start checking out the Panther tailgating style and traditions, gather a few recipes and take fabulous pictures. The Panthers colors are beautiful...and the variety of turquoise, black, silver and white shirts, jackets, scarves and blouses we saw was quite stunning. Even the beer cozies were frequently studded with turquoise jewels. There were very few hats, and I only saw one Panther painted face. Ah, but there was a vendor selling a turquoise scarf festooned with black jet beads that quite tempted me. (I do so love glitter)

Our first stop was Dan Ortel’s PantherFanz spot in the Pecan parking area just below the stadium. What a spread!  The music was great and the open pit roasting chickens, pork and roast beef lent an aroma to the area that was truly mouthwatering.


There were games, dancing and one man had a strange air gun thingy that he used to fire Panther and Panther Fanz tee shirts into the crowd from time to time. All in all it was one of the best, most well-organized and fun tailgating parties we have seen to date. The food was fabulous, and Panther Potion packed a wallop. On this special Sunday, the Fanz were joined by The Yaz Tour. (A group of man friends from New York who travel to and tailgate at one NFL Football game every year...and will continue to take this annual trek until they have been to 32 games in all 31 stadiums.)

Photo Gallery: Panther Fans Mid-Morning

We hated to leave the PantherFanz, but set off on our circumnavigation of the stadium to check out the various lots and sets-ups in the parking lots. It was a surprising tour because a very large percentage of the fans we saw tailgating in the lots were Packer Fans. There were plenty of Panther fans, but Packer Fans were everywhere. We did learn why there are so many Packers fans at the Stadium... Packers home games have been sold out since 1960. Soooo, families and friends plan reunions, parties and even weddings at stadiums where they can get tickets, travel to the stadium and hang out, tailgate together and get to see their team play - which they can’t do at home.


The other factor that comes into play with the smaller Tailgating Panther Fan turnout is the comparative age of a team like the Panthers. It takes a couple of generations of fans to build up traditions and create the entity that is called the12th man. Great fan bases are know as the 12th man and their cheers can actually help the team on the field. Not every team has a 12th man and as football teams go, the Panthers are a very young team... still only 11 men. They began their first season in the fall of 1995. The Cardinals (1898), Bears (1919), Packers (1919), Giants (1925) and Lions (1929) are the oldest teams in the NFL. Fans of older teams see the tradition of loving and supporting their team as a birthright. And well they should. It is such a safe and wholesome pursuit. Planning, cooperation, sportsmanship and good food all come together to celebrate a couple of simple things... sharing time with family and friends and helping your team win. There are no politics involved...

GAMEDAY: CAROLINA PANTHERS vs GREEN BAY PACKERSThroughout the lots, were thousands of Panther fans having fun and building food and family traditions around the pleasure of being together and being a Fan. Most of the people we talked to had brought the love of being together at an NFL game on a fall afternoon with them from other cities. Over and over we were told, “Nobody is from Charlotte.” There were lots of wonderful smells and some great food was being served... Kendall shared her recipe for Lasagna Cupcakes with us.

Photo Gallery: Panther Fans Mid-Day

There is a great group on Martin Luther King Avenue. Six families have gotten together and bought  an RV... had it painted a luminous silver and professionally detailed with Panther graphics.  They did the inside in sleek black and silver with Panther themed fabrics and rugs. It is a project worthy of Architectural Digest. Each family, like most of the people in Charlotte, is from someplace else. ..what they have in common is their friendship, their children and the love of football and tailgating that they brought with them from other cities.


GAMEDAY: CAROLINA PANTHERS vs GREEN BAY PACKERSTheir fan van is a lark to visit. Adults, children and babies everywhere.  All of them, including the kids, are dressed in tasteful Panther garb. Babies are bouncing on knees, little girls are flirting with their daddies and men are involved in food prep and cooking. All in turquoise and black...

Our tailgating last season ended with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Atlanta Falcons in the play-offs. Today we began our season with the Green Bay Packers beating the Carolina Panthers in a game which saw Rookie, Cam Newton, the Panther’s QB passing for over 400 yards for the second week in a row.

Panther Fans, “Your Time Has Come!”

Final: Panthers 23, Packers 30

So I particularly like the hat with all the tubes on it to force feed beer (?) into your dinner party guests.  Don’t know HOW we’ve managed on Fire Island all these years!  (I guess getting an entire group of queens to decide on one cocktail type might prove an obstacle but certainly worth a try!)

Love yas’ miss yas’ wish I was with yas!


Frank, it is called an octabong. It has 8 sections, and I would think a different beverage of choice could be poured into each one.

Such fun!  Where next?


This is "Crazy Joe" the creator of the "Panther Potion" - You forgot ONE addition - Tonic to taste, just to cut it. Glad you enjoyed it, and our party!

Go Panthers!

"Crazy Joe" The Cedar Street Seer

"Joe, I can assure you there was no tonic in mine! I was happy for hours… Tonic is probably a pretty good idea though"

Great photos!! Really nice to meet both of you....enjoy your travels-Tailgate Forever....

Michael K.

Enjoyed very much - thanks. Just wondered what the two women in the first photo were looking at.


Somehow I felt addressed with this comment :) — "Also, for those of you who could care less about football, I have attempted to explain what "The 12th Man" is."
Have fun.


How fricking fabulous…makes me want to be there. And strangely reminiscent of carnival in brazil.

You can taste and feel the energy, excitement, etc. 

Also, these people look healthier than those in Buffalo…hmmm? Wonder why.

Lastly, those Carolina panthers chose the BEST colors ever!  Everyone looks amazing in them.

Glad you all are doing this. Glad I had time to look at this.


Love how you are always ready to party with friends old and new! Cheers!


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