For some, it’s not the game that draws them. The roar of a crowd responding to a touchdown, stadiums filled with color-coded fans and half-time shows don’t even intrigue them. Weather won’t keep them away, and distance doesn’t matter. For them, it”s time to party and eat like there’s no tomorrow.
They are the tailgaters. The die-hard, all-weather football fans that consider tailgating to really be the name of the game. They decorate their cars, stake out their parking-lot spots and camp out for the duration of the game – with plenty of food.
But tailgating is not limited to the privileged few. All you need is some knowledge, a few tips and plenty of team spirit to fit right in with the rest.
When choosing your menu, pick foods that can be cooked ahead of time or grilled at the game site. To avoid food poisoning, hot foods should stay hot (140° and above), and cold foods should stay cold (40° and lower).
Make sure the stadium allows alcoholic beverages before you bring them.
Pack disposable plates, silver ware, cups, tablecloth, trash bags, paper towels and wet wipes. Also bring bottle openers and corkscrews if you need them.
Keep the menu simple, and do as much beforehand as you can. Pack with disposable containers so you don’t have to take a lot home.
Arrive three to four hours early so you can get a good spot and set everything up. Park at the end of a row or near a grassy spot so you’ll have more room to spread out your stuff.
Have some kind of visual marker so that friends can find you. Flying a flag works well.
Plan it so that the food is ready an hour and a half before the game. That way everyone can eat, clean up and put out any grilling flames before going to the game. Those staying at the site can get out the TV!
And for the final kick-off, here’s the top 10 must haves at a tailgate, according to tailgating.com:
- Jumper cables – not everyone wants to spend the night in the parking lot!
- Toilet paper – the MVP (most valuable product) of the parking lot.
- Plastic trash bags – for clean up.
- Extra ice – there’s no excuse to run out of ice.
- Rain gear – when everybody else is in their car or truck, you”ll be cooking!
- First aid kit – just in case that football hits you in the head.
- Sun block – even if you burn the food, no reason for you to burn.
- A friend – change someone’s life. Bring them to a tailgate party.
- Comfortable shoes – you can walk to your stomach’s content.
- Antacid – need we say more?