If you need an excuse to travel somewhere sunny this winter, look no further. Patriots Tailgate is throwing its biggest bash of the year in San Diego on December 6, one day before the team faces the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.
The six-year-old group, which organizes events at road games throughout the season, is planning a gathering for Patriots fans from near and far.
"A lot of it will be local folks who can just drive into town or take a short flight, but we've got quite a few people coming from overseas and other parts of the U.S.," explained Barry Inciong, president of Patriots Tailgate. To date, people from Australia and London have confirmed their attendance, as well as many New Englanders who are planning to follow the team to San Diego.
The highly anticipated party will take place at Players Sports Bar, where Patriots Tailgate hosted a similar event in 2010 with about 150 guests, including Robert Kraft, who made a special appearance.
Robert Kraft visits Patriots fans in San Diego
"That was the electric moment," Barry recalled. "You really can't find another professional sports organization where the owner has that type of interactive experience with the fans. For him to stop by for a little while and address the crowd, it was pretty fantastic."
This time around, Barry is anticipating an even larger crowd and has reserved the entire bar for his group. Fans will be able to give back to the community – proceeds are going to the Patriots Charitable Foundation and San Diego United Way – while enjoying dinner and meeting other people who share their passion for the Patriots. The following day, they can tailgate and attend the game together.
"To be among hundreds of Patriots fans 2,500 miles away from their home base is pretty cool," Barry remarked, adding that the camaraderie is what inspired him to start Patriots Tailgate back in 2008.
"We want that social interaction and the experience of celebrating every touchdown and victory with other fans," he explained.
Barry also emphasized that the weekend celebration is a particularly special occasion for west coast fans like him.
"It's such an exciting thing to look forward to – seeing your team play live in front of your own eyes instead of just on TV," he said.
"We're not living close to Foxborough nor are we talking about fans in Miami who get to see the team play every year. As soon as that schedule comes out in late April, everyone's marking it on their calendar, starting to look at flights, trying to find hotels, blocking off vacation time at work. Big Patriots fans, that's what we do. We make it a top priority."
Patriots Tailgate Bolt Buster Bash
When: Saturday, December 6, 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: Players Sports Bar, 7061 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego
Tickets: $20 (includes donation to charity and dinner buffet; ages 7 and under are free)
Group hotel: Courtyard Central, 8651 Spectrum Center Blvd., San Diego; 858-573-0700;[ www.marriott.com](http:// www.marriott.com) (book by November 5 for group discount)
For more information and to purchase tickets to the Bold Buster Bash, see www.facebook.com/groups/PatsTG.