LEWISTON — Fans lucky enough to be inside Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium contended with balmy 72-degree temperatures when the Packers and Steelers kicked off Super Bowl XLV Sunday evening.

Closer to home, the boys of Darcy Drive in Lewiston may not have been lucky enough to be in the warmth of the Lone Star State, but they definitely weren’t short on good food, beer and plenty of fun as they huddled around a 32-inch television  and a roaring fire in the backyard.

“It’s mostly neighbors and friends,” host Corey Gagnier said. “You can’t really find a lot of people who will commit to being outside for four hours.”

Gagnier cleared his backyard and area around the fire pit using a snow blower, creating a “snow-made” shelter to keep his die-hard friends out of the elements as best he could. The Lewiston man even plowed a path from the front driveway to the game-day corner of his backyard.

Gagnier was happy for Sunday’s mild weather, adding that the outdoor gathering, which has been going on for several years, was only called off one year due to the bad weather. No dome needed in Maine.

“Almost everyone here is a Pats’ fan, but we all have to suffer through this year’s Super Bowl,” Derek Monteith, one of more than 10 guys from the neighborhood gathered around the bonfire for the annual tailgate party, said. “I’m just past the denial stage. But the Super Bowl is too much fun not to watch, even if your team isn’t in it.”

Cheers went up as Green Bay drew first blood in the first 15 minutes of the game, but a hush fell over the crowd as the infamous Super Bowl commercials flashed across the screen.

“I’d give it a five.”

“Ah … lots of build up. Not a lot off umph.”

“Hope they get better next quarter.”

“We need a bigger screen next year.”

Gagnier and his neighbor, Andy Lussier, came up with the idea back around 2005.  The two said the outdoor event draws more and more people each year. In fact, the entire neighborhood gets in on the big event.

Another neighbor, Patrick Loisel, said that all the wives and little kids are gathered at one house. He used his snow-blower to transform his front yard into a sliding hill for the older kids not interested in watching the game and not interested in being stuck inside with their younger siblings.

Of course, some of the older kids make their way back to check up on dad and a few younger ones venture back with moms in tow for goodnight kisses.

“I really just don’t want to stay inside with all the little kids,” 15-year-old Abbie Loisel said.

Gagnier, his neighbors and their families said they gather almost weekly throughout the summer and play horseshoes or cards in the backyard by the fire pit.

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