The Essentials of Tailgating
Football season is back and that means fans of high school, college and NFL football teams are gearing up to cheer their teams on to victory.
Part of the game day experience is getting to the stadium early and tailgating prior to and after the game. Tailgating has become ubiquitous with attending football games and to do it right you’ll need to take care of the “tailgating essentials.”
Pre-Game Day Preparation
Doing a few tasks prior to heading out to your tailgate can save a lot of extra effort and confusion.
- Make sure you know the stadium’s RULES for tailgaters and fans entering the stadium.
- Check the weather. Being prepared for inclement weather can make being out in the elements bearable.
- Share the workload. Divvy up your food and drink menus so that you share the time required to prepare and the expense.
Don’t Forget These Essentials
Seasoned tailgaters have putting on a great tailgate down to a science. There checklist includes the essential items along with a few suggestions to make life easier.
- Tailgate grills, smokers, fryers with propane or charcoal***
- Utensils, including barbecue tools, mitts, and aprons
- Smaller camping or folding tailgating table for griller or food prep
- Folding tables and chairs
- 2-3 Coolers, minimum
- Extra ice
- Pre-cooled beverages and frozen bottles of water
- Prepped food for cooking
- Canopy, shade structures, or rain shelters
- Balloons, banners/flags, or signs to make your tailgate party visible
- Heavy duty trash bags for cleanup and makeshift ponchos in rainy weather
- Spare blankets and throws
- Tailgate games, speakers, and entertainment
- Cleanup gear like wet wipes or a cleaning station
***Although some would consider it sacrilege to not grill at a tailgate, there are other food choices that can simplify certain aspects of putting on a tailgate party. Bringing deli sandwiches, large subs, or chicken that has been prepared earlier can reduce the time involved for food prep at the tailgate.
Common Courtesy Goes A Long Way
On top of being prepared for a great tailgate there are a few other suggestions that should insure your tailgating experience is a good one.
- Show up early. Getting to your destination 3 – 4 hours early will help you get a prime spot without having to fight your way in.
- Don’t start drinking too early. Arriving to the stadium early is a good thing in some aspects, but not so much so if you don’t pace yourself when it comes to alcohol. You’d hate to miss the game because you were too inebriated to make it into the stadium.
- Don’t impose on your tailgating neighbor’s space. Be courteous when setting up your tailgate and when playing games, like corn hole or throwing a football. This also applies to any music you are playing.
- In most cases not rooting for the home team is O.K. Friendly banter between rivals can be fun. Just remember that you are outnumbered and that getting too belligerent may draw the ire of the local faithful.