The start of fall is upon us, bringing cooler days, colorful trees, and lots and lots of football! From avid fans to mild supporters, football season brings an opportunity to get together with friends and family and celebrate the start of the season. One of the best ways to enjoy the football season is participating in or hosting a tailgate. For tailgating novices, tailgating is the time before a game starts where people gather in the stadium parking lots and surrounding areas to eat, socialize, and have fun before the game begins. And if you’re not in the realm of the stadium, you can even host a “tailgate” at your home!
Tailgate: Stadium & Surrounding Areas
Before you hop in your car and head off to the stadium, there are some things you should know about improving your tailgating experience. Planning ahead will ensure that you have everything you need and are prepared for any scenario. Start making a list a couple days before the tailgate occurs.
Some things that may be useful to put on your packing list include food, drinks, sunscreen, medication, games, coolers, trash bags, tent, lawn chairs, speakers, portable chargers, jackets, and umbrellas. If you do bring a tent, make sure you have ropes or heavy objects to keep the tent secure in case of gusty winds. As far as clothing goes, look ahead to check the weather and prepare for anything. A sudden cold front or storm cloud could appear, so keep jackets and hats close by just in case. Additionally, make sure you have comfortable shoes that you are okay standing or walking in.
After you decide on your packing list, figure out where you are going to park at the tailgate and how far in advance of game time you should arrive. Depending on the location, you will likely want to arrive around four hours before the game starts. When selecting a location, make sure it is close to a restroom or you are aware of where the nearest restrooms are. If you know any experienced tailgaters, ask them about where the best spots are and when you should grab them.
Once you get to the tailgate, what do you do?
First, socialize! Hang out with the people you came with and meet the other tailgaters around you. Everyone has at least one thing in common, which is the excitement for football or support of your favorite team. Use that to make new friends and get the most out of your tailgating experience. You could also play games with the people around you. Cards or small board games are easy to pack and are a great way to socialize and have a good time with others.
Some people bring grills or have pre-made food and snacks. Food and drinks are important for the long wait before the game begins. Make sure you have a cooler to keep any frozen food or drinks cold. If you want to relax after eating and socializing, try playing some music from your phone or a portable speaker. Make sure to pack portable phone chargers to keep your battery from dying. Portable chargers are fairly inexpensive to purchase. Make sure it is all charged up before you head out, and then you can use it to charge your phone or other devices when they start running low on battery.
Tailgate: Host at Home
If making your way to the stadium and surrounding areas is out of the question, consider hosting a tailgate party at your home! Invite friends and family over before kickoff to enjoy food, drinks and games. One advantage of a tailgate at home is preparation: while you may make a grocery list, you won’t need to pack everything into your car. Additionally, you’re protected from any weather threats.
Tailgates bring lots of fun and good memories to the fall season. Planning and packing the right way will ensure you have everything you need to enjoy time with your family and friends.