The Hoser’s Guide to the 108th Grey Cup

Had your doubts?!

Ye of little faith.

It’s back! Two plus years since the last Canadian Drunk! Your liver should be pining for a double dose of degenerate drinking!

The not so great about one-oh-eight is that the parties have been trimmed down significantly due to that thing I won’t talk about. However, the bright side is that you don’t really have to make any hard choices. You’ve only got four days to ruin yourself and I’m going to show you how!

Thoughts from a 14-time Grey Cup Vet

Kudos to Edmonton for not throwing in the towel like EVERY other team (except the non-existent Schooners). They are the only ones pulling their weight. Spirit is always a phenomenal party. The only problem is getting in… This year’s venue looks like it might be pretty small so get there early.

The parties in the Convention Centers tend to issue wrist bands that allow re-entry. Get these early to avoid waiting in line later in the evening. In particular, grab your Schooner’s (see below) band early in the day because it’s a nightmare later on. It’s unclear if we’ll have to pay the $20 for each party but I’m guessing we will. Only Saskatchewan had the common sense (shockingly) to charge one cover for all parties in the convention center.

The city will be littered with players and CFL alum. Keep an eye open for rings on fingers. Notice one and you’re good for at least an awesome picture and likely fifteen to thirty minutes of great conversation!

Last GO bus to Toronto is @ 1am if you’re planning on staying there.

One last thought… Please, FFS, take a picture of your hotel and room number on your phone. Also take a picture of any coat check ticket you receive. Ask me how I know when you run into me.

Thursday

I admit, there were many moments of weakness these past months when I thought I would never get to redeem these.

You’re in the Hammer. On a Thursday. You’ve got one choice — Spirit of Edmonton. It shuts down at midnight. Zombie over to Hess Village for the late night pints you so deeply crave.

Time for a Smoke’s Poutine and a Lyft/Uber to bed.

Oh look, you’re completely wasted, go to bed!

Friday

Don’t complain. It’s morning one. Take a swig of that Bailey’s and stuff it.

Morning

Alright maybe you should eat something. Go to West Town and get the Eggs Benny and a beer (this is common there). Be warned, it’s full of Cats fans.

Commissioner’s Fan State of the League

“No, we’re not moving the season up. Haven’t you caught on with what we did this year?”

I’ve done this a few times. I’m not convinced that waking up early and fighting the hang over is worth it. Sometimes they give out good swag but you have to listen to all the windbags first.

Afternoon

Grey Cup Party Headquarters (11am – 3pm)

Not even the GC website has any idea what this about. Probably the hall of fame artifacts. Maybe some autographs from the TSN panel.

See you at the pub.

Evening

You not a GC vet unless you’ve napped beside the dueling pianos.

If you were smart enough to RSVP and lucky enough to win tickets to the awards party, that’s probably what you should do. Afterwards, you have three choices:

Spirit of Edmonton

You won’t be let down here (as long as you can get in).

Awards After Party

I did this in Winnipeg a few years back. I had to pay for it and it wasn’t much of a party… That being said, things might be different this year given there’s only one other option. I’m betting this is the same room/setup as the Western Social (Saturday).

Eastern Social

At first I though this was a re-branded/combined Atlantic Schooner’s Down East Kitchen Party but that doesn’t appear to be the case (see Saturday). I’d probably try here after Spirit and the Awards Party.

A good fallback. At least you’re with your people. Downtown Hamilton certainly has a taste to it.

Go to Bed, you’re drunk!

Saturday

Ouch. Head hurt? That’s because your sober. Smarten up!

Spirit of Edmonton Breakfast ($125)

I have to admit that I’ve never done this. I just can’t get up early enough for it (also, it’s a bit steep). Everyone tells me I have to and every year I say I’m going to do it the following season. It’s an absolute booze fest from what I’ve been told. It’s almost certainly sold out by now.

Afternoon

I’m not really sure this year. This is when I usually poke around Grey Cup HQ but the Grey Cup Festival web site doesn’t even try to explain what’s going to be there this year.

I’d try it and then tour the local pubs. My favourite little patch of Hamilton is Augusta St. It happens to be beside the Go Bus terminal so it’s great for a sneaky pint before or after the bus. The Pheasant Plucker does a phenomenal Yorkshire Pudding!

Evening

This is the big night! Make sure you don’t puke it up!

Down East Kitchen Party?

If it exisits, this is where you’re going to try and spend the best part of your night. It’s unclear if this is being merged into the Eastern Social or is going to be it’s own event. The official GCF site doesn’t say anything about this but it’s allegedly happening according to this CFL.ca press release. They drive in from Nova Scotia with a couple hundred pounds of fresh lobster literally caught and shelled the day before. Lobster rolls literally don’t get any better than this! For music, some years they book the Mudmen — a must see Celtic rock band.

The Mudmen list a Dec 11th show as “Private Event Parts Unknown“.

I like the cut of their jib!

Spirit of Edmonton

My guess is that it’s going to be next to impossible for you to get in unless you here early. It’ll be great if you can but I’d try this Friday. Spirit is notorious for long lines and I suspect given the venue, it’ll be worse this year.

Eastern or Western Social

You’re in one of these if you couldn’t get into one of the above parties. Pick your home division and make the most of it. There are far worse places to be, like locked up in your house!

Sunday

Wake up! Get up! Eat! You have a big day ahead you sailor!

You’re welcome.

Twisted Tea Grey Cup Social (1pm – 4pm)

I think this is the most reasonable option unless you’re a Cats fan. It’s free with your Grey Cup ticket.

TigerTown GameDay (10am – 3pm)

It’ll be heavily Cats themed and costs $75 (with two cans).

Game Time

It takes time to get through the vaccine checks at Tim Horton’s Field, get there early. I’ve never been temped to eat there so interpret that as you will. The newspapers say they’ll be making more of an effort than usual.

There’s no official after party (ugh). Bars will be open but my guess is that you aren’t going to see the cup in any of them. I suspect the victor will have a pretty locked down private party.

Post Game

You’re a machine! Four days of non-stop, liver loving debauchery! I’m so proud of you.

See you Friday night in the Hammer!

blllllllllUUUUUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

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