Tailgate parties at Candlestick Park cut short 

click to enlarge Fast food: Candlestick Park visitors were ordered to stop tailgating 15 minutes before kickoff Sunday. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner) - FAST FOOD: CANDLESTICK PARK VISITORS WERE ORDERED TO STOP TAILGATING 15 MINUTES BEFORE KICKOFF SUNDAY. (MIKE KOOZMIN/THE EXAMINER)
  • Fast food: Candlestick Park visitors were ordered to stop tailgating 15 minutes before kickoff Sunday. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner)
  • Fast food: Candlestick Park visitors were ordered to stop tailgating 15 minutes before kickoff Sunday. (Mike Koozmin/The Examiner)

When Devinder Dhesi and his family left their Yuba City home Sunday morning to attend the 49ers’ home opener at Candlestick Park, they didn’t expect their fun to be cut short.

But the recent violence at Candlestick Park football games — including the Aug. 20 shooting of two men following the 49ers’ victory over the Raiders — prompted the 49ers to stop all tailgating 15 minutes before kickoff.

For Dhesi and his family, that meant all the extra food and beers they had brought for after the Seattle Seahawks game was wasted.

“We have to throw away most of it,” Dhesi said while barbecuing hamburgers 45 minutes before kickoff. “We have chicken and hot dogs. We usually stay and tailgate after.”

Electronic signs on the roadway announced when tailgating would end. But some fans still were not aware of the new rules. At a pedestrian bridge connecting two parking lots, an enforcement team warned fans they would not be able to bring open containers or alcohol across the bridge. Many people just chugged their beers. A line of half-empty bottles lined a concrete barrier leading to the bridge.

Julie Robedo of Salinas didn’t expect to have to chug a cold Coors Light before crossing the bridge.

“It’s messed up,” she said.

Patty Crutright, a Vacaville resident who tailgates with her family several times each year but never misses kickoff, understood the reasoning behind it.

“The violence is just not necessary,” Crutright said. “But it’s a pity all the violence is taking away some people’s fun.”
At 1 p.m., San Francisco police broke up any remaining parties.

For Dhesi, it meant a ride home that would start sooner.

“This isn’t what we expected,” he said.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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