Tailgate Party Tips

The 2012 football season has begun. Are you ready for some tailgating? If not, then check out the following tailgate party tips to have the most fun possible both before and after the game. Experienced tailgaters should read through the tips, too, as they just might learn something new.

Photo Credit: William F. Yurasko via Flickr

Check the Rules
Each stadium has rules specific to tailgating. Look them up on the stadium’s website and plan to follow them all. The last thing you want to have happen is to get thrown out before the game even starts.

Secure the Best Vehicle
The best vehicle for tailgating is a truck or SUV, as you can lower the tailgate or lift the hatch and use the flat surface for your buffet and bar. Better yet, rent an RV or a motor home. That way, you have an easily accessible kitchen and bathroom, as well as a TV on which to watch the pregame and postgame action.

Pack Smartly
If you don’t already have collapsible but comfy chairs for tailgating, complete with cup holders in the armrests, purchase as many as your party will need. Pick up small side tables, also collapsible, to scatter around your space.

What food-related equipment you will need depends on what you plan to serve. Sticking to sandwiches and chips? A cooler will get the job done. If you want burgers and the like, invest in a small charcoal grill and add it to the pile to pack. Bring a cooler, or two, for drinks alone, so your food doesn’t constantly get exposed to warmer air. Opt for disposable food containers, paper plates and plastic cups to make cleanup easier, and be sure to bring along plenty of garbage bags.

Park Strategically
Arrive at the stadium as early as possible to scope out the best spots, which will be at the end of a row near garbage and bathroom facilities. Being on the end gives you more space to spill out into, and parking close to garbage cans allows you to easily dump your bags once full. Proximity to the bathroom also limits the amount of time spent walking back and forth. Speaking of back and forth, raise a distinctive flag atop your car antennae to keep friends and family members from getting lost.

Get Fancy
Spruce up your space by putting down a strip of artificial turf.  You can also bring along a portable generator to power a TV if you don’t plan to go the RV route. And once it gets cold, that generator could also power a small space heater.

Leave Nothing Behind
Other than a bit of spilled beer, your spot should show no signs of your presence. Don’t dump charcoal and drive away, and never leave trash on the ground. Show respect for not only the environment but also your home team and the many employees who support their efforts by keeping the grounds clean.

Use these tips to make the most of tailgating hours. For the games you don’t have tickets to, check out this Super Bowl Planning and Clean-Up guide for ways to throw the best football parties at home. The video included features excellent ideas for decorating, including turning your coffee table into a chalkboard on which your guests can jot down their own plays.

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