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TAILGATING

At Gillette Stadium, they get the party cooking

Grill master Ralph Helms, left, and Bob Signoriello cut the meat at their tailgate party.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Grill master Ralph Helms, left, and Bob Signoriello cut the meat at their tailgate party.

FOXBOROUGH — Before About an hour before the Patriots played the Steelers on Sunday, the Reverend was set to deliver his signature sermon.

It’s a tradition before every home game tradition, as roughly 100 fans gather around Michael Young’s Ford E-350 bus and listen to the prayer.

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The Reverend is formally known as Gerry McCarthy, and Young’s bus, retro-fitted as an entertainment theater on wheels, houses the most elaborate and recognizable tailgate party at Gillette Stadium.

“[The sermon] started 20-something years ago, when we were a small tailgate party, and I’d say something impromptu,” said McCarthy, a 33-year season ticket-holder. “When Mike was building the bus, I said I’m going to write a little poem. I read it, and everybody loved it. The pressure was on, and I had to do it again.”

Together, Young, McCarthy, and Marty Roche coordinate a bash for 30 friends, with what seems like enough food to feed everyone in the stadium.

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“It’s just a good time,” said Young, a Falmouth native and 20-year season ticket-holder. “It’s a rolling home theater, and just tailored to tailgating.”

The bus, powered by a 4,000-watt generator, is fitted with a two-bar facemask over the front bumper and a face painted on the hood, but the real fun is inside, where there’s a 46-inch flat screen television — the biggest of three on the bus. According to Young, there’s “enough stereo power to wake the dead.”

Anthony Gulizia can be reached at agulizia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @gulizia_a
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