Are you ready to throw the ultimate pavement party? Whether you're in a campground, a stadium, or are holding an impromptu family reunion, tail gating is a great way to go. While it's generally associated with football games, a tailgate party is something you can put together just about anywhere. All you need is great food, drinks, and a group of fun people and you're ready to go.
Plan Your Menu
Whether you're planning a sporting event tailgating party or just want to stop for a group meal while you caravan with family and friends, it's important to think through your menu. You may want to have a theme, or to ask each person to bring a particular dish. For football and baseball fans you might pick a theme that has to do with their favorite team, such as cheese steaks for the Pittsburgh Steelers or dirty beans and rice for the New Orleans Saints. For a NASCAR race you might do southern favorites like chicken wings, beer can chicken and BBQ ribs. Let your imagination run wild or opt for the classic burgers, hot dogs and assorted bags of chips and dip.
What to Bring
Don't forget the non-food supplies you'll need: plates, utensils, napkins, paper towels, a trash bag, a cooler with ice, and water. If you want your guests to take leftovers home with them, consider packing a box of Ziplock bags or some plastic wrap and spare paper plates and bowls. A small first aid kit is always smart, as is sunscreen and insect repellent.
It's also smart to pack your car with a few just-in-case items. Toilet paper, jumper cables, and spare plastic bags almost always come in handy. Rain gear will help you stay dry even if the weather doesn't cooperate. Lawn chairs will make it easier to sit back and relax. And extra ice will help you keep your drinks cold even on a hot day. Wear a hat, bring sunscreen and sunglasses, dress in layers, and wear comfortable shoes.
Some tailgaters prefer to bring pre-cooked or ready-to-eat foods like sandwiches, salads, and chips. Another option is to invest in a small hibachi grill, briquettes, and lighter fluid. If you decide to grill, don't forget spatulas and other grilling equipment, plus a cooler for storing your burgers and dogs before cooking.
Sporting Event Tailgating
If you're planning a traditional sporting event tailgating party, be sure to arrive early. It's critical that you find a good parking spot, ideally near a grassy area so you have more space for lawn chairs and relaxing. If friends are joining you, get a flag, balloon, or other object that you can fly on a high pole, so they can spot your vehicle. Be sure to wear your team colors and have a good time! Tailgating is a great way to get to know new people, so don't be shy--chat with other tailgaters. Don't forget to swap recipes and menu ideas.
Get your grill going early, if you're using one. You'll want to have the food ready about an hour before the game, so you have time to clean up and put out the fire long before it's time to enter the stadium. It's important that you leave your area clean, and you certainly won't want to do any picking up after the game is finished. Try to have everything packed up before you head in.