When hosting a football tailgate party, you should consider the same factors that you do when hosting a dinner party: taste, hunger, entertainment value and comfort. Just because you’re out in a stadium parking lot somewhere, you shouldn’t skimp on any of the ingredients that making a meal with friends enjoyable at the home or at a restaurant. The same concepts are at work.
With that in mind, I’ve included a list of things to keep in mind the next time you and your friends going tailgating before the big game. This is especially important for the one organizing supplies. Here’s how to host a tailgate party.
1. Get Comfortable Chairs
This one is so often overlooked, that I wanted to mention it first. If you’ve ever tailgated with uncomfortable foldout chairs, you’ll know that great food isn’t so great, if you have to sit uncomfortably for several hours.
Work within the confines of your carrying capacity, but allot a good percentage of your carrying capacity to bringing comfortable furniture. Comfortable foldout chairs or bean bags aren’t bad ideas. If you have the room, bring a love seat or an old couch. A couple of reclyners also will do.
Your fellow tailgaters might look at you funny at first, but they’ll appreciate your attention to detail as the day unfolds. If you bring relatively valuable furniture, remember to bring blankets to cover the chairs. Team colors are nice.
2. Arrive Early
The idea of the tailgate is to turn your football game into a full day experience. Arriving earlier than the rest of the fans is absolutely key, because it helps you stake out your tailgating perimeter before the parking lot is filled up. You don’t want to be jammed into a tiny spot or corner. Tailgating is about using your home parking lot for something besides parking.
Get their early and make yourself at home.
3. Bring a Grill
You can’t really have a good time tailgating without a good grill. Grilling foods is what the experience is about. Buy a good grill and make certain you or someone you know is skilled at grilling food, especially burgers, brats, kebobs and their like.
4. Pack Food That Will Keep
Bring food to grill and finish off with food that will keep for several hours. Bring the biggest cooler you can find, so you have plenty of everything. You’re going to be on an island out there, so don’t forget a key grilling supply. Make a list and check it not only twice, but three times. Don’t expect someone else to bring a key supply, because they won’t.
5. Make a Tailgating List
Besides the big foods, you’ll want a list of other tailgating supplies. Here’s a short list of what you’ll need.
Plates, Cups and Silverware – Plastic or non-breakable is good.
Card Tables and Cards – You’ll want some entertainment.
Portable tv or radio – You want to have access to the pregame shows, to set the mood.
Blankets - These are good for covering things and staying warm. If it’s at all chilly, bring plenty of blankets.
Stuff to Wave – Bring pennants, banners and anything else to show off your fandom.
Drinks, Plenty of Drinks – Bring enough drinks for everyone, and bring the right kind of drinks. A mix of alcohol, soft drinks and water should do.
Citronella and/or Repellant – Pests can ruin a good tailgating experience quicker than anything. Don’t let yourself and your guests be besieged by mosquitos and flies.
6. Give Out Prizes
Hand out a prize for the most outrageous costume or fan attire. Encourage people to go beyond a simple jersey by giving out a prize for the best face paint, best sign or best team-themed costume. People love to dress up and there’s no better time outside of Halloween to dress yourself up and have some fun.
7. Bring Football Baggo
Bring a football-themed baggo set for people to enjoy. Baggo is a bean bag tossing game where you toss beanbags onto a BAGGO game board, keeping score based on where your bag lands on the football field styled board.
With plenty of food and drinks, a few fun games, equipment to keep the pests and the cold way, and enough comfortable seating to bring comfort to an otherwise uncomfortable parking lot, you should know how to host a tailgate party with the best of them.