The reasons people show up at ballgames early are not so that they can enjoy getting at the venue in good time for a seating area and a parking lot. Tailgating gives people the opportunity to socialize, eat, and get the energy to cheer and enjoy before heading for the stadium to watch their best teams. If you are new to tailgating, here are the five most essential tips you need to familiarize yourself with.
1. Pick A Prime Location
For your party to rock and tick every one of you, you need to pick a family-friendly spot. Whether it’s in the field, at the stadium, or a parking lot, the area has to be friendly and cozy. Be sure to watch out for loud music spots and kegs if your kids will be around.
The trick is to get there early so you can have the chance to stake out your family territory. The area should have low traffic and away from the student section. When parking, think about your exit strategy in case you will have to jump out of the party early.
A tent or canopy would be a great landmark for members to easily locate it in the sea of others. You could also choose to fly a flag on your spot if you don’t have a tent or canopy.
2. Dress for the Party
You get to pick your tailgate note right from your wardrobe. Be sure that every member of your family attending the party is dressed in a way that supports your team. You are not just leaving for the tailgate to grill but to show your absolute support.
You are there to celebrate your favorite team. Everyone attending a tailgating party expects to stand out. They expect to be the best fan in the crowd and so will be careful to choose the right gear. From crazy wings to costumes and face painting, everything should spell “best fan”.
If some members would like to dress in cheerleading outfits or a nice jersey, have them outfitted in their tailgating ensemble. Remember to carry warm clothes too. If you are not into jerseys or sports outfits, you could at least wear the right colors.
3. Be In The Know
It is vital to have some basic knowledge before setting out for your tailgating party. First, find out what the weather will be like to ensure you are dressed appropriately for the day. If there is a downpour, for instance, there definitely won’t be grilling. You also need to find out when the gates open. Of course, you don’t want to get there early and idle around.
Also get familiar with the parking lot fee and be sure to carry extra cash in case it is a cash only parking lot. If you’re trying to save money, you could even consider buying your tickets from Stubhub and using a coupon.
Be familiar with the party rules. It could be simple things such as not leaving any grill unattended. Also, some do not allow charcoal grills. You could do a quick search on some of the rules the stadium holds.
Also, remember that not everyone in your team enjoys having meat in their meals, so be sure to also carry some shrimp cocktails, pasta, salads, and veggies. At tailgating parties, don’t expect to get essentials such as plates, cups, and spoons. You have to bring them along, not forgetting to include napkins and trash bags. You may also need to carry beverages, matches, chairs, and tongs, among other things.
4. Pack It Up
When tearing down your site at the end of the game, you need to take out everything you bring along. There could be trash cans around, but then they could be missing. As such, you need to have something to dispose of all your litter.
If the stadium allows charcoal coal and you decide to use it for your grill, you need to have a plan of how to dispose of it at the end of the event. Note that coal has the potential of staying hot for hours, while at the same time you have to dispose of them. Do so using the aluminum pans you use while preparing the meal. You could also opt for melted ice to put off the coals.
5. Make It Fun
Your guests should stay entertained before the game starts. You could include tailgating games or flip cups to set the right mood. Other activities could include listening to music, or you could choose to walk around the rows getting to know a few other tailgaters.
Tagging along with some entertainment keeps the rest of your team distracted as you prepare a meal. However, remember everyone is there to have fun so try and respect other tailgaters regardless of their team affiliation. Even when the neighboring tent is supporting a different team, avoid going overboard.
This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.