By Carina Scher
Football season is back! The die-hard fans are breaking out the jerseys, chips, wings, and drinks. Game days are ecstatic for them. After all, football is nothing without its fans.
Successful tailgating is a must have experience for all football fanatics. It brings friends and family together, and results in the best of times (if done properly). However, the perfect tailgating experience requires effort. Fortunately, it can be achieved with less difficulty and stress by following these simple steps:
Before Game Prep: Gather your gear! This may include but is not limited to:
- A Pop-up Canopy (sizes may vary) for shade and rain cover
- Table and Chairs
- A Cooler
- A Grill
- Eating and Cooking Utensils
- Trash Bags
- Table Cloths
- Portable Satellite Dish(if owned)
- A TV and Invert-er
- A Parking lot entertainment such as a bean bag toss or a foot ball
*Note: Purchase snacks and meal ingredients early.
*Note: Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
Step 1: Preparation~ Load everything into your vehicle the night before your trip, (excluding your cooler with food and beverages). You can pack those items right before you leave. Plan to arrive 15 minutes after the parking lot is open to eliminate any traffic and shorten the length of the line. Get ice on the way, preferably as soon as possible.
Step 2: Food~ Make a game plan. To ensure that you have everything you need, plan your meals and snacks in advance, (before you go shopping for them). Be sure to include healthy choices, like fruits and vegetables, in your feast. For extra points try to incorporate your team’s colors into your snacks.
Step 3: Game Time~ Once you arrive and park your vehicle, set up your cooking, eating, and entertaining stations. Now you’re ready to get cookin’. To avoid health risks monitor your food. Don’t let it stay out for too long, especially if the temperature is above 90 degrees. If meat is featured in your meal be certain it is completely cooked. *Note: Hot foods should be kept hot and cold foods should be kept cold.
Step 4: Post Game Tailgating~To let the traffic thin out you may want to have a second meal before packing up and heading home. (Of course this would need to be planned and prepared for along with your first meal). Depending on when your game is over, lanterns or other sources of light are crucial. When leaving make sure your grill is cooled off enough to pack.
Step 5: Attitude~ Having a positive attitude and a smile on your face will go a long way. You will most likely meet neighboring tailgaters at the game and friendliness makes a good first impression. Remember this no matter what team they are rooting for!
So these are the basics, however, you can always tailgate more extravagantly if you choose. Decorating the vehicle you are traveling in is always a good way to get hyped for the game. Even a team themed centerpiece would make an excellent bauble. Good luck fans, and may the best team win!
Photo ©Bonnie Fishman