As the game before the game, tailgating is a great way to showcase your team pride and give your guests, friends and family an entertaining day they won’t soon forget. A great tailgate isn’t simply thrown together, however. There should be some pregame planning involved in order to set off your parking lot party full of games, grub and good times.
So, where should you start?
The first two things you must remember to pack are your team apparel and game tickets. Let your super-fan out with team-inspired threads and carry that enthusiasm into the stadium, too!
For the ultimate setup, be sure to pack a canopy to provide some coverage from the sun or less-than-perfect weather. Camping chairs can keep your guests comfortable, while a folding table — and accompanying table cloth — can serve as your snack hub with all of the fixings placed on top. Consider putting food under the canopy and out of the sun. You can also bring mesh food nets to place on top of food to help keep flies and other bugs from landing on it. Also, pack bungee cords, rope and duct tape to help safely secure everything to the ground.
Bring a cooler packed with your favorite beverages on ice or ice packs. Be prepared with koozies, a bottle opener and cork screw as well. If you also plan on enjoying food that needs to be kept cool like your hamburger meat or other gameday delights, pack an additional cooler for these items. And don’t forget to bring water.
What’s a tailgate without a grill? You don’t need to haul the large family barbecue from the back patio, but a small, portable grill can turn up the heat and cook up some summer specialties. And don’t forget to pack the necessary grilling accessories such as propane or charcoal (dependent on your grill), lighter fluid, grilling tools, pot holders and a lighter.
PRO TIP: Check with stadium rules and regulations on the type of fuel allowed on site. Some facilities might not allow open flame grills, meaning no charcoal or wood pellets.
Plenty of napkins, paper towels, eating utensils, plates and cups are also tailgating necessities. Make sure that these items are disposable so that you can easily toss your waste away and not have to drive home with a bunch of dirty dishes.
Add further flair to the scene with some outdoor games that are fun for all ages — whether it’s a family affair or an adult-only shindig. Bag toss, washer toss and ladder toss are all great additions. Keep it classic with a football, frisbee or deck of cards. Keep momentum up with a wireless speaker to play some tunes without blasting your car stereo — and possibly killing your car battery.
When it comes closer to game time, remember to clean up your area before entering the stadium. Pack plastic containers and aluminum foil to preserve any leftover food or snacks, and have a permanent marker ready to label each container. Keep hand sanitizer, wet wipes, paper towels and garbage bags on hand as well to help make cleanup a breeze.
And before you know it, it’s game time.
Start each gameday off right with these must-have tailgating items. Warning: you may adopt the new nickname “Tailgating Tammy” or “Tailgating Tom” with your new hosting skills.
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