Nothing says “it’s football season” quite like a tailgate party. But if you want to make this football season extra special, you should take some time to prepare.
7 Tips for a Better Football Tailgating Party
A backyard barbeque or a football viewing party in your living room can be fun, but these lightweight options pale in comparison to the real deal: stadium tailgating.
If you want to make the most of football season – whether college or professional – you need to learn how to host a killer stadium tailgating party that blows your friends and family away. Here are a few helpful tips:
1. Location, Location, Location
When it comes to tailgating, location is everything. In fact, it’s your location that will, to a large extent, dictate who shows up and who skips out for another tailgate. Here are some things to think about:
- Getting as close to the stadium as possible will make it convenient for people to quickly transition from tailgating to entering the stadium for the game.
- Make sure you know where people are parking or traveling to/from and try to position your tailgating setup in an area that’s easily accessible.
- Think about accommodations. Are there restrooms nearby? Is there a convenient store where you’re able to grab items like ice, extra plates, or more beer?
Every stadium is different. Some are located in the middle of crowded cities, while others are situated in small college towns. You know the landscape better than most, so make sure you choose strategically.
2. Bring the Luxuries of Home
There’s nothing wrong with hosting a tailgate from the back of a truck, but you should consider stepping things up a notch and renting an RV.
If you’ve never tailgated with an RV, you’re missing out. Not only is it great for staying comfortable before the game, but it’s also convenient for after games.
“With an RV you get to head back to your coach (or maybe even the couch in your coach), which is ideally in the parking lot. Fire up the grill, open a cold beverage and hang out or watch the next game on the satellite or projector you set up outside,” Allstar Coaches explains.
Don’t own an RV? You can always rent one for the weekend. (It’s way more affordable than you probably realize. Especially when you consider how much you save on getting hotel rooms.)
3. Plan the Right Menu
People might come to a tailgate for the people, but they stay for the food! Plan a killer menu that keeps people hanging out and having a good time.
Finger foods are key. You want items that are easy to eat while standing up or talking with others – like pigs in a blanket, burgers, sandwiches, chips and dip, and party mix.
4. Pack a Tailgate Essentials Box
Though it’s impossible to plan ahead for everything, you can be well-prepared by packing a tailgate essentials box and keeping it close by. This box should include things like spatulas and tongs, bottle openers, trash bags, flashlights and batteries, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, umbrellas and ponchos, thermoses, blankets, paper towels, extra condiments, duct tape, permanent markers, stakes and tie-downs, power cords, and extra utensils.
5. Check Local Stadium Rules
Every stadium/city will have different rules regarding what is and isn’t allowed in tailgating areas. Do your research ahead of time to get familiar with these stipulations – especially if you’re grilling.
“Check with stadium rules and regulations on the type of fuel allowed on site,” Dick’s Sporting Goods mentions. “Some facilities might not allow open flame grills, meaning no charcoal or wood pellets.”
6. Keep the Crowd Entertained
Good food will do most of the work, but you should also plan some ways to keep your tailgating guests entertained. This may include:
- TVs to watch other football games
- Music to keep everyone upbeat and relaxed
- Yard games (like corn hole or ladder ball)
Feel free to put your own unique spin on classic forms of entertainment. Anything you can do to make your tailgate different will make it more memorable.
7. Make Time to Socialize
The goal is to plan ahead with your tailgate so that you can actually relax and enjoy the company of others on game day. In fact, this needs to be a priority.
If you’re stressed about every last detail being perfect, you’re going to be a miserable host. Pay attention to the people and make sure you’re having as much fun as they are!
Host a Tailgate to Remember
There are tailgate parties…and then there are those tailgate parties that people talk about for years to come. There’s a fine line between good and great. Take the time to elevate your tailgate experience and you’ll have something to look back on with great fondness in the years to come.