It’s a big day for Winnipeg football fans.
Friday evening marks the home opener for the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who kick off their season at IG Field against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The Bombers, who fell just shy of winning a third consecutive Grey Cup championship last season, are beginning the 2023 campaign with high expectations, as oddsmakers position the Winnipeg team — alongside the Ti-Cats — as likely finalists once again.
But first, there’s a season to play.
Bombers president and CEO Wade Miller said attending a home game, especially the season opener, is about more than just football.
“As our Bomber fans know, you’re going to be part of the CFL’s loudest fans,” Miller told Global Winnipeg.
“Get here early to the game — experience that atmosphere. It’s just a ton of fun and a great, great opportunity to hang out with your buddies. If you bring your family, there’s a ton of inflatables out there.
“(We have) drink specials, beer specials … new in there, we’ve got our big barbecue going, serving ribs.”
Illusionist Darcy Oake taking over Bombers’ home opener
And that’s just in the tailgate area before the game. Miller said fans should also look forward to the halftime show, which will feature a performance by acclaimed illusionist — and native Winnipegger — Darcy Oake.
“It’s going to be just an unbelievable illusion at halftime, and we’re excited to have Darcy Oake kick off the season with us — and what better way than to have a Winnipegger that has his own success … and we all get to watch.”
Oake told Global Winnipeg on Thursday that it’s nice to be back home, as the majority of his work these days is in Europe.
“Whenever any opportunity pops up in this city, I hop on it immediately,” he said, “just because of my love for Winnipeg. I was born here, raised here, still live here, will always live here — it’s got a special place in my heart.
“Anytime there’s something cool that pops up for the city, I’m there.”
Oake said his performance is connected with Winnipeg’s rich history of magic and illusion — including a famous stunt by the legendary Harry Houdini, who did an upside-down straightjacket escape in downtown Winnipeg.
“It was super cool that Houdini came and did it in the city, so I’m taking that, putting my own little spin on it, and I’m going to try to beat Houdini’s record.”
The Bombers say there are multiple options for fans to get down to the game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., including on-campus parking, a number of park-and-ride locations, a bike valet, rapid transit, and more.
Full details, as well as ticket information, are available on the bluebombers.com website.
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