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7 Steps to the Art of Tailgating

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7 Steps to the Art of Tailgating

Tailgating is a large part of American sport culture, as a popular social event held typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium or arena. Devoted fans gather with their brethren to drink, grill and most importantly, be merry in the spirit of their favorite team and the upcoming game. Even if your vehicle does not have a literal tailgate, you're welcome to participate – as long as you show plenty of team spirit and are down to party with your comrades. Read on for some points on how to do tailgating right.

1. Make It Obvious You Are a Fan.

When it comes to game day and tailgating, it is impossible to go overboard with your team’s insignia. Instead, a slightly excessive fan ensemble is expected by fellow fans in the parking lot and stadium. Dress in your team jersey, T-shirt, hooded sweatshirt or other team-related clothing. A wig and face paint in your team’s colors is not necessary, but a nice touch. Stay warm during colder weather with logo fleece blankets. Even your vehicle can dress up, with the help of bumper stickers, car mats, seat covers, sun shades and car flags; all proudly displaying your team insignia.

2. Set Up Your Space to Feel Like Home.

The tailgating portion of game day is meant for fans to kick back, relax and enjoy a few beers and a few hot dogs before the actual game. It’s a time for friends with a united passion for a team to deepen their bond and perhaps meet other kindred spirits. Make your little cranny of parking lot comfortable and inviting.

First, add a makeshift roof to your space by installing a tailgate tent. Not only will it help to protect you and your belongings from sunrays or rain, the tent can further announce which team you are rooting for with its design. Tailgate tents run a little pricy, but are a worthy, one-time investment if attending tailgates, or even camping and picnicking, are reoccurring activities in your lifestyle.

Have portable chairs available and folding tables to host all of your gear, drinks and eats. Disposable tablecloths are useful to protect your table from likely spills and enable stress-free clean-up. To go above and beyond, set up a makeshift bar.

3. Prepare Your Menu Ahead of Time.

Tailgating is not the time to go hungry. Although grilling meats happens on the day of, get the majority of your menu ready prior to game day. This way, you will have a chance to deviate from the standard bags of chips as appetizers. IdealHomeGarden has some great tailgating appetizer recipes to make for an extra-delicious start to your pregame meal. You can pack your menu items in a cooler, or utilize a picnic basket to easily transport your food supply. Make sure you have fitting equipment to reheat any served hot foods and disposable items to serve your food, such as paper plates, plastic eating utensils and napkins.

4. Grill to Impress.

To begin with, leave your basic hibachi grill at home. In the presence of fellow sports fans and grill enthusiasts, you want a propane grill that will impress, such as the Coleman Road Trip Grill. With mix and match surfaces including a drip-through grill, a pancake griddle and a stove, as well as two detachable side  tables for prep and other cooking duties, the Coleman Road Trip Grill is perfect for cooking all of your hot dogs, sausages and galore. Don’t forget your grilling utensils, especially when they are engraved with the team mascot.

5. Keep Your Beverages Refreshingly Cold.

Before you buy that 30-pack of beer at the market, double check that public alcohol consumption is permitted in the premises. If so, ensure that you have the best cooler with lots of ice to keep your beverages refreshingly cold, especially if the game falls on a hot day. Pick out a cooler with wheels for easy transport. If you are going the keg route for your beer, dress up your keg jug in proper outfitting (the jug also works for hot beverages). Don’t forget the plastic cups, either!

6. Entertain Your Guests.

When hordes of passionate fans gather together, it is bound to be a jolly time. Keep energy levels high with additional entertainment to the eating, drinking and conversing. A portable radio, or even better, a portable television, set on top of your vehicle is vital to hear pregame interviews and predictions. You can also play an upbeat playlist via an iPod and portable speakers, but keep in mind that other tailgating parties will also be playing music. Be courteous, and choose a volume level that won’t pointlessly compete with others.

Games of beer pong are also a preferred form of entertainment. You can reuse the beer pong table as a flip cup surface, or give the different option of a bean bag toss game.

7. Show Respect to Your Team and the Event Grounds.

Leaving a mess and being too disruptive is not only hurtful to the stadium, but can also reflect badly upon the team you are rooting for and representing. Make sure to clean up after the festivities. Have several garbage bags on hand to collect and throw away whatever cups, plates and other disposables were used. If there are no recycling bins available, double bag your aluminum cans and glass bottles to bring to the nearest recycling bins.

Partake in the great American tradition of tailgating, and do it the right way with these helpful tailgate tips. Nothing should go wrong during an event where you get to hang out with friends, make new friends, eat great food and drink delicious drinks – all while supporting your favorite sports team.

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