Football season is not only a favorite American pastime, but it is also synonymous with another age-old American tradition – tailgating. This casual outdoor activity is fun for all ages, and despite the dramatic changes that have affected the tailgating scene over the years, the roots have remained the same.
It’s all about fandom, family, friends, food, and fun! Tailgating is the perfect avenue for good sportsmanship, team spirit, and an overall enthusiasm for sports to be shown off. Although tailgating has progressed into concerts and other sports, traditionally, this outdoor activity is most commonly associated with football.
A Timeless Tradition
The roots of tailgating actually run deep in American history. In fact, the very first tailgate known to be held took place during the Civil War, sometime in 1861. It all began at the Battle of Bull Run and the rest is history – tailgating was birthed upon America. Even back then, the original tailgate featured cheering, celebratory drinks, lots of food to share, and an all around exciting atmosphere.
Over the years, tailgating has become quite competitive in the sense that folks go to elaborate measures to make sure their tailgate party is the most impressive and the most fun. This display of friendly competition has set the bar high for those who wish to become tailgate masters.
Tailgate hosting is not an easy task by any means. It requires planning, organization, and dedication. However, unlike other types of parties, tailgating is not nearly as stressful for the party host. If you want to impress your friends and family with an MVP-worthy tailgate, consider the following tips:
- Create energy! No one wants to hang out at a boring tailgate. You need to incorporate some fun team décor and flare, outdoor games, and preferably some sort of music.
- Make it kid-friendly. Tailgating is a family activity, so make sure there is ample entertainment for the little ones – team colored face painting, sports-related competitions, a non-alcoholic punch, and other children to play with.
- Get creative with the food. Without questions, food is one of the key components of tailgating. Hot dogs and hamburgers are no longer the norm. Nowadays, people go all out with grilling sausages, kabobs, BBQ brisket, and pretty much anything else that can be cooked on a grill – corn on the cob, roasted vegetables, and even s’mores. Clambakes and shrimp boils are also a popular food item at tailgates.
- Don’t let your tailgate run dry. In other words, make sure you have plenty of coolers on hand, all of which are stocked with everyone’s favorite beverages. If you know that enough guests will be attending your tailgate, it might be worth it to get a keg, or fill coolers with a festive punch. If it’s cold out, don’t forget the hot chocolate!
- Although it is common for folks to stand around conversing and playing games during a tailgate, make sure there is ample seating for those who would prefer to sit, or at least for eating purposes. If necessary, you can always rent chairs for the day, as opposed to purchasing them.
- Nothing gets football fans pumped up like watching another football game or the pre-game show. If you can, provide a television at your tailgate and just keep it on in the background.
If you’re a rookie tailgater, there is no need to feel intimidated by the big shots. Anyone can throw a memorable tailgate party. The ultimate goal is to have fun and appreciate the gloriousness of football. Before you know it, the season will be over, so start planning your epic tailgate before it’s too late.