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Buffalo Fan Fest bringing Bills greats to tailgate

Fred Jackson is ready to feel the fandom.

Jackson suited up in more than 100 games for the Bills, but he never experienced the party beforehand.

He’ll finally get his chance on Sunday, joining a roster full of current and future Wall of Famers for the Buffalo Fan Fest tailgate at Wings Meeting Place on California Road.

“This is my first tailgate,” Jackson said in a promotional video. “I need ya’ll to come show me how we get down on the other side of it.”

Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Marv Levy are scheduled to attend the event, along with Bills alumni Booker Edgerson, Ed Rutkowski, Jeff Nixon, Lou Piccone, Darryl Talley, Pete Metzelaars, Don Beebe, Donovan Greer, Eric Moulds, Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish.

“Most of the alumni are bringing their wives and a few of them are bringing their kids, who aren’t really kids anymore,” organizer Nick Garey said.

Current Bills players Eric Wood and Lorenzo Alexander will be there in spirit.

 

Proceeds from the event will go toward Wings Flights of Hope, the Orchard Park-based nonprofit that provides free air transportation to people for medical and humanitarian purposes, as well as Hunter’s Hope, the Andre Reed Foundation and Autism Awareness charities. Garey also has invited Make-A-Wish to participate and the 26shirts-designed “Right Here, Right Now” shirt will be on sale to benefit Sean Hart of Hamburg.

Wings Meeting Place will open its 19,000-space parking lot at 8 a.m. Sunday. General admission tickets cost $50 and include parking, food, beer and liquor. VIP tickets are $150 and provide access to meet-and-greet areas with Bills alumni, top shelf liquor, silent auction items and a premium buffet catered by Lucarelli’s Banquet Center.

“This is where the alumni will be centralized, where they are going to mingle the most,” Garey said. “But they’ll be out in the beer tent and the general admission area taking pictures, too.”

Kelly will be throwing a few signed footballs into the crowd and there will be additional signed items available to purchase, but “this is a tailgate party, not an autograph event,” Garey said.

The Buffalo Fan Fest Alumni Dinner will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Lucarelli’s. Tickets cost $100 and include a buffet, three hours of open bar, and access to signed memorabilia.

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