The Ultimate Tailgate Party


When it comes to football, be it college or NFL, Tailgating parties have become an American ritual. Synonymous with food, drinks and camaraderie, this classic get-together is a glorified picnic on wheels and the bigger and more elaborate they are, the better. It doesn’t take a motor-home to create an energized atmosphere, just a little creativity and a well thought out game plan.

So whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, the following playbook will help you execute a flawless party.

4-make-it-a-gamePre-Game Warm-Up
The first and most important part of planning a tailgate is the preparation. So consider starting with a list of all the items that you’ll need. Click here for a comprehensive list of all the items that will make your tailgate party a true s-u-c-c-e-s-s.

Team Roster
Be sure to enlist the help of any friends that will be joining you. This is not the time for a one-man-show. Remember, there’s no “I” in TEAM. After you’ve determined a list of items to be brought, as well as your menu, you can start delegating. Choose people you can rely on and who you know can complete the pass.

The Playing Field
The next important thing to consider is location. Where you end-up tailgating will contribute greatly to the overall life and vibe of the party. If you have an assigned parking space, then you are one of the lucky ones, but if you are like the other 90% of fans, you’ll probably need to stake a claim early in the day. If you can, research some locations a few days before the big game. Ideally you’ll want to be as close to the stadium as possible so that you’ll be in the midst of the excitement and buzz.

Pack everything with convenience in mind. By this, I don’t mean you have to be cheap, I just mean that by doing as much preparation in advance as possible, the easier your life will be and the more socializing you’ll be able to enjoy.

When you pack your car or truck, put all food items and smaller items in first and then the larger bulkier items like chairs, tables and grills in last, so that there is a natural evolution as you unpack and set up your area.

Team Spirit
You never know who you’ll be parking next to, so you’ll want it to be obvious which team you’re rooting for. Tailgaters, tents, plates and all other decorations should be reflective of your team colors.

Eileen-tailgating-party2Make it easy for your fellow tailgaters to find you. Start with a tent, attach a flag, hang pennants, custom banner or paper lanterns. Don’t be afraid to splurge in this area.

Cooking grills, folding tables, tablecloths, recyclable plates & cups, corkscrews, bottle openers, paper towels, and garbage bags are all must haves for this day.

Don’t forget to bring the lounge chairs. Hey, why you’re at it…why not bring a whole living room worth of furniture.

Tune your car stereo to local game coverage or go big and set up a TV so that everyone can hear the pre-game interviews and keep track of the other big games that are going on that day.

Don’t forget to start a pool for the game or pack a football to toss around. Cornhole toss always adds a little friendly competition to the festivities.

And sure, you always hope the game is going to be action packed, but some games just turn out to be

Keep your tailgating team happy throughout the game by playing this friendly game:

Start with a cup that everyone places a dollar in. If the team doesn’t make the down and the ball goes to the other team, then the person holding the cup adds another dollar and passes the cup to the next person. As long as the team with the ball is advancing, the person holding the cup gets to keep it and if they score a touchdown, they win the cup and the game is started all over again.

special-spread-lConsider the time of the game, as this can help you decide what type of food and drinks to serve. If it is a 10 am kickoff, then Bloody Mary’s would be the obvious drink of choice and Brunch might make for an interesting twist.

When it comes to food, do as much preparation as possible. Package as much food as you can, in the actual containers from which you’ll serve. This will help you avoid the extra set up at the game. If you’ll need utensils to eat with, then pre-wrap them in napkins. Not only does this make for a better presentation, but it is also easier for fellow tailgaters to grab as they serve themselves.

Drinks actually might be the first thing you think of when you think tailgate, and not without good reason. I think the main reason people get together despite sub-zero temperatures, is not only for the pre-game hype, but most importantly for the libations. Glass may be prohibited, so check the rules (or in the least, how lenient they are) for drinking in public or on campus. If you opt not to do beer, think about serving punch that can be kept in large containers or coolers and served in paper or plastic cups. With so many different options, you’ll surely be able to find a drink that perfectly compliments your menu.

Be sure to also offer non-alcoholic options, like iced-tea and soda during the beginning of the season when it is still warm out, and hot chocolate and coffee during the colder months. One great idea during warmer months, is to freeze water bottles, which you can use to keep food cold, but also make for a refreshing treat for dehydrated drinkers after the game.

Remember, the key to a great tailgate party and a great time is all in the preparation. With a little forethought and an ounce of creativity, whether thought up or borrowed, you’ll go a long way in ensuring your tailgate is a winner.

Lisa Cabanes is the founder and CEO of Social Couture. Social Couture is the premiere online party decor store.

Social Couture offers a fresh approach to entertaining that takes the pain out of party planning. The concept is simple: Visit the site, choose a theme, and click, click, click – the mailman brings everything you need to host an evening (or afternoon) of delight!

Article Source: The Ultimate Tailgate Party