8 Football Tailgating Tips for a Perfect Parking Lot Party
Tailgating is a football tradition. Stadium parking lots are filled as fans come early and stay late while relaxing with family and friends before and after the game. Some credit the start of this event party to the Civil War and the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861. Voyeurs traveled from DC to Manassas, Virginia to watch and cheer their team, Union or Confederate, in this first major battle. Learn more about the start of tailgating by visiting the National Geographic website.
Both the tailgates of the past and those of today require a lot of effort and planning. The bigger the crowd, the more organization is needed. By using these eight tailgating tips you can plan a really successful parking lot party and enjoy this historic American pastime.
- Packing Essentials – Having the following items will add to the comfort and success of your party. Transform your tailgate into a blowout barbeque everyone will enjoy by packing these items:
- Tables and chairs
- Coolers for food and beverages
- Grills with cooking tools and propane
- Tents, tarps, and/or canopies
- Trash bags, paper towels and napkins, paper plates and bowls, and plastic utensils
- Heaters and blankets for frigid weather
- Setup Shortcuts – Label coolers so that everyone knows exactly where to get their preferred drink. Separate water from soda and adult beverages and freeze some water bottles. You’ll have cold water to drink by game time and the ride home, and you’ll save money on ice, too. Also, use that bungee cord you have in your vehicle to hang paper towels across the top of your tent or between tables and chairs.
- Picking the Spot – It’s always best to make sure the logistics are nailed down to avoid any last minute, nasty surprises on game day. For example, get parking passes if they’re needed, learn the rules and regulations to avoid any mishaps, and locate the closest bathrooms. Then, brief your guests on the details for a well-planned, fun time.
- Best Vehicles – Pickup trucks actually have a tailgate and are ideal for a football pregame extravaganza. They are designed for camping and outdoor activities so it’s easy to use one to transport a grill, tables, coolers and supplies. If a pickup truck isn’t an option, SUVs and hatchbacks are good substitutes. They also offer room for carting essentials.
- Football Tailgating Food – Nutella-filled football truffles, football pepperoni pizza dip and a dessert “snackadium” can add some fun, professional touches to your party. Check out these themed recipes and others.
- DIY Decorating – Paint the top of your cooler with your team colors. This may require some sanding, so be sure to check out these instructions. Use erasable chalk ink markers to decorate your vehicle with your team mascot and colors. Astro turf cozies are a fun way to keep drinks cold. Check out this tutorial to create them yourself. And, add an astro turf table cover to put the finishing touches on your tailgate.
- Outdoor Games – Try making this ring toss game to add some fun to your pre-game festivities or make a DIY skittles board for an outdoor version of Irish bowling.
- Technology Tools – If you’re organizing a large group and want to divvy-up assignments, try using these technology tools to limit the time spent sending messages back and forth.
- Tailgating, a free iPhone app
- Tailgating Planner ($0.99), an Android App
From the days of past to today, an event party is a tradition enjoyed by many. With careful planning and the help of these eight tailgating tips you, too, can organize a truly spectacular football extravaganza at your next game. Enjoy your carefully crafted celebration with family and friends and good luck to your team!