Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Ross-Ade Stadium 850 Beering Drive West Lafayette, IN 47907
Year Opened: 1924
Boiler Up! at Ross-Ade Stadium
Ross-Ade Stadium was dedicated on November 22, 1924, and named in honor of Purdue alumni George Ade and David E. Ross, two principal benefactors. At the time of its construction, the stadium had a capacity of 13,500. Today, the stadium holds 57,236 people.
The first addition was made in 1930 when 5,000 seats were added to the north end zone. A permanent grandstand on the west side was built before the 1949 season, increasing the seating capacity to 51,295.
A series of more renovations saw the capacity reach its apex of 62,500 by 1969. However, capacity decreased in 2014 when 6,100 seats were removed from the endzone in 2014. During the 2017 season, lighting was installed so that games could be played at night for the first time.
The stadium features a horse-shoe design with an open-air end zone, including food trucks, a massive patio with bench stool seating, and beverage kiosks. In addition to the grandstand, there is a giant student section.
The Boilermakers began its football program in 1887 and played games at Stuart Field in 1892 until Ross-Ade’s completion. The program has captured 12 conference championships and 1 national title in 1931. There have been 294 players selected in the NFL Draft, 4 members of the NFL Hall of Fame, and 3 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks (Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and Drew Brees).
Food & Beverage 4
Ross-Ade has a wide selection of food and beverage that includes hot dogs, burgers, Domino’s Pizza, soft pretzels, pork tenderloin sandwiches, nachos, and chicken tenders. Sweet treats include elephant ears, ice cream, and Kona Ice. Popcorn is enjoyed from a plastic oak and barrel bucks, a nod to the annual football trophy against rival Indiana University.
Multiple concession stands and kiosks feature Budweiser products. Fans can also enjoy local craft beer from People’s Brewing Company called Boiler Gold. Pepsi products are sold at the stadium.
In the endzone, the Famous Frank’s food truck offers an array of distinct hot dogs with toppings, including fries, mozzarella sticks, cheesesteak, and jalapeño poppers. One example is the Fat Frank which features mozzarella sticks, steak, cheese whiz, and french fries.
The campus comes alive on game day, with tailgating beginning in various lots and residential lawns hours before kickoff. There are many who won’t attend the game but enjoy food and drink with a few hundred friends. Homeowners stand outside with paper signs advertising parking fees.
Students and alumni dress up and begin drinking early in the school tradition “Breakfast Club”. Fans are dressed in old gold and black, including many in overalls. The smell of food off the grill and sounds of music from the parking lot adds to the excitement of game day in West Lafayette.
Once inside, fans grab their seats and enjoy the sights of the marching band that includes the “World’s Largest Drum”, the Boilermaker Special locomotive, and creates various formations that includes the official fight song “Hail Purdue”. Before kickoff, fans grab their keys and shake them and shout “IU Sucks” after the band plays the “Horse and Hail Fire” song.
There is not a bad seat in the house; bleacher-seating puts fans on top of each other and a giant video board stands in the open end zone. There is additional seating in this area that includes a large patio with food and drink options.
The Chauncey Village neighborhood features quite a bit of funky little shops and restaurants, plus some great nightlife destinations. Von’s Shops offers an impressive array of new and used books, clothing, and other items in an eclectic building and storefront.
Next door is Von’s Dough Shack, where customers choose their type of calzone and enjoy it fresh from the oven. If you are not the creative type, there are 34 varieties to choose from off the menu.
Across the street is the famous Triple XXX Family Restaurant, where one can enjoy a peanut butter burger or homemade root beer inside its small, cozy, and narrow booths. The small building features narrow countertops and bar stools.
If you are a craft beer fan, People’s Brewing Company is located 3 miles north of the campus and is one of the better places for local beer in the state. Brokerage Brewing Company offers a full menu, highlighted by kahlua pork nachos and sandwiches. Lafayette Brewing Company is the other craft beer option in town, with $2 off of pints on Wednesday nights.
To say that Boilermaker fans are passionate would be an understatement. The town comes alive on football Saturdays that include massive tailgating before and during the game. Inside the stadium, the passion continues with near-capacity crowds, and the Ross-Ade Brigade student section is among the best at the conference. Expect to hear a lot of “Boiler Up!” chants during the game.
It is advisable to arrive at least a couple of hours before kickoff, perhaps even 3 hours earlier. Game day traffic is not hard to navigate, but it can become cumbersome. There are plenty of lots that offer parking for $20 to $30 a car, including homeowner lawns a few blocks away from the stadium. Free parking is available but requires a walk of about a mile.
The local police make sure that signage leads motorists to and from the stadium but arrive early to find a spot and perhaps walk around the numerous tailgating lots before the game. However, it is advisable to wait some time after the game to drive out of the stadium.
Once inside the stadium, the concourse gets dense before the game and during half-time. Moving around in your seats requires long walks up the aisles for certain seats and bleacher-style seating. It is not different from other college football venues of its era and is somewhat expected for die-hard and casual fans.
Return on Investment 4
The cost of a ticket is as low as $25 – $35 for low to high-demand games and as high as $75 – $90 for games against Big 10 foes. The cost of parking is $20 a few blocks away from the stadium and free if you want to walk a mile on foot. The atmosphere, numerous traditions, and the frenzied crowd are more than enough to provide a traditional college football experience.
The Purdue football experience earns extra points for school traditions that feature the jingling of keys, shouting out “IU Sucks!”, and pre-game Breakfast Club. A second point is awarded to the “World Largest Drum” that is on display, along with the Boilermaker Special locomotive in the endzone during the game. A final point is for the town to create a wonderful game day atmosphere on Saturdays.
Ross-Ade Stadium is a basic horse-shoe-shaped venue, but it does what it needs to do on game days. The fan support is strong and additional renovations are planned to update the century-old stadium. Still, there is a lot to enjoy at the game unless you are a fan of the opposing team. The Purdue football experience is among the best in the area and more than “sneaky good”.