A Tailgating Game Plan
7 steps to a successful game day gathering
(eLivingtoday.com) Across the country, game day traditions include the activity that takes place before the actual game: tailgating. Just like most get-togethers, though, a successful tailgate takes planning and preparation.
Consider these tips to ensure your tailgate scores well with your friends and family.
- Get a group together. Before any real planning can take place, it’s important to ensure you have friends and family willing to gather around the grill outside the stadium gates. Pick a game and run the idea by anyone you think would like to join you well ahead of time so everyone can get tickets and commit to arriving at the venue together.
- Decide on a menu. While many tailgating foods are tried and true classics – like burgers, brats, chili, chicken wings and nachos – it’s still important to work with your group to establish a menu that offers something for everyone. Shoot for items that can be prepared either the night before or cooked in less than 30 minutes to keep it quick and easy. Create a signup sheet to avoid duplicate menu items, and don’t forget drinks – both alcoholic and non – and goodies for any kids who might be tagging along.
- Pack the night before. Once everyone knows what to bring, cook what you can in advance and load things you’ll need such as coolers, a grill, lawn chairs, a pop-up tent, tables, plates, napkins, utensils, condiments, trash bags, charcoal or propane, sunscreen, lighters and lighter fluid, bug spray and party games in your vehicle the night before.
- Arrive early. Getting to the parking lot early – many stadiums open lots four hours before game time – allows you to maximize the time spent together and can also make it easier to coordinate multiple parking spots together, if necessary.
- Set up equipment. Shortly after arriving, set up any equipment such as tents, lawn chairs and, probably most importantly, the grill. Getting everything set up quickly and the grill going early will leave you better positioned to start cooking when your entire group arrives so you can head into the stadium with plenty of time to account for any walking distance and lines at the gates.
- Enjoy the atmosphere. Outside of maybe the food, the atmosphere of your tailgate is the most important part. Bring a Bluetooth speaker and games like cornhole or ladder toss and enjoy the party with your fellow sports fans. Decorating your cars or tent in your team’s colors can also add to the festive spirit.
- Clean up. Make sure you leave enough time before the game to clean up and store everything securely back in your vehicle before heading in. While this is undoubtedly the least fun aspect of the pregame festivities, it beats worrying about your gear getting trampled while you’re inside or having to clean up while traffic is leaving the lot.
Find more tips and ideas for throwing a pre-game party at eLivingtoday.com .
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