City, 49er fans gear up for game against Saints

(AP Photo/Aaron Kehoe)

January 14, 2012 1:26:07 AM PST
On Saturday, Candlestick Park will be buzzing with tailgaters and 49er fans ready to see their team in its first playoff game in nearly a decade.

The players are preparing, but so are the police because it is game time for officers too.

It is an exciting time, but a game like this also brings with it some concerns. Security operations began Friday. Officers could be seen checking cars with mirrors as they entered the stadium grounds. On Saturday, the SFPD will increase their staff by 25 percent, to the same amount of staff they typically deploy for a rivalry game.

The parking lot opens at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and the stadium opens at 10:30 a.m. The 49ers organization hopes that will give everyone plenty of time to tailgate and plenty of time to get to their seats by the beginning of the game which starts at 1:35 p.m. Drinking will not be permitted while standing in line to enter the stadium and by 1:30 p.m., people need to be inside the stadium or otherwise out of the parking lot and not lingering around.

In the meantime, area restaurants are hoping to get the party started as soon as possible. Fior d'Italia in North Beach is welcoming all fans to come in at noon. They want to see 49ers fans and Saints fans getting together before the game starts.

"We like the folks that come from out of town and give them a taste of real San Francisco," says Bob Larive says. "We're a 125-year-old tradition in San Francisco and it's nice to bring them in and show them what San Francisco's all about."

Ever since the lights literally went out at Candlestick Park during the 49ers' Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, PG&E has been doing a lot of work. Mayor Ed Lee himself promises that will not be the case on Saturday.

San Francisco police will have uniformed and plain clothes officers looking for ticket scalpers. Technically, the game is sold out, but as of Friday morning, about 2,500 tickets were for sale at starting at $155 a piece.