Baylor Bears

How to Plan the Best Tailgate Party

2017 Big 12 championship game

Tailgate parties are social events held in stadium and arena parking lots before, during, and after sporting events. Most of the time, they revolve around the open tailgates of vehicles, but many people attend such events even if they don’t have a vehicle with a tailgate. 

Tailgate parties can be just as highly anticipated as the sports games themselves, and people travel from far and wide to be a part of the action. If you’ve been tasked with the important job of ensuring your tailgate party site goes off without a hitch, you might like to take some of the following actions. 

Power the Party

While holding a party without a power supply is still possible, having a tailgate generator can turn an ordinary party into something extraordinary. With a gasoline, diesel, or solar generator, you can power TVs, lights, kitchen appliances, and chargers for mobile devices. 

A TV at a tailgate party allows you to tune in to the pre-match report or the live game, while kitchen appliances can broaden your food choice options. Even being able to bring your lights and music can enhance the average tailgate party more than you might expect. 

Provide Enough Food

Stadium concessions are expensive, and the average person doesn’t necessarily want to spend their hard-earned money on overpriced hot dogs and beverages. That’s why many partygoers are encouraged to satiate their hunger at a tailgate party before attending a sports game like football

If you’re in charge of food, make sure you have a rough idea of how many people are in your tailgate group so you can plan accordingly. If you’re bringing a grill to your party, purchase affordable foods you can cook quickly and safely, such as hot dogs and burgers. You might even like to incorporate a few treats for partygoers, such as chicken, kebobs, and steak. 

If you’re unsure if you have enough food, beverages, and gas bottles for the masses, plan for if the worst should happen and you run out. Identify the nearest store selling everything you need, and put someone in charge of supervising the grill or running to the store. 

Prepare for Any Weather

Ideally, all tailgate parties would be held in the sunshine with comfortable temperatures, no wind, and no clouds in the sky. However, that’s never guaranteed. 

Sports have been played in awful conditions, such as the snow in January 2023 with the Buffalo Bills versus the Cincinnati Bengals and heavy rain in October 2021 between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers. Prepare for all weather conditions to ensure attendee comfort. 

Bring shelters and tents for people to relax in, umbrellas for protection from sunshine and rain, and don’t forget to encourage the use of sunscreen, sunhats, and rain jackets. Check the weather forecast in advance so you can plan accordingly. 

Get There Early

Tailgate parties can be all-day events but typically peak before a game begins. Plan to set up your tailgate at least three hours before the game starts. This can provide you with enough time to set up, enjoy yourself, and clean up before the starting whistle blows. Failure to allow enough time might mean you spend more time setting up and breaking down your tailgate site than actually enjoying the event. 

Plan Entertainment

A traditional tailgate party emphasizes eating and drinking, but that doesn’t have to be all that lures in attendees. You might also set up or plan games for everyone to enjoy. There are a number of classic tailgate games your guests might like to play, such as ladder golf, cornhole, washer pitching, and flip cup. You might also encourage people to bring footballs and soccer balls for casual gameplay before the real action begins. 

Be Responsible

If you’re in charge of planning your tailgate event, it’s important to be a responsible host and keep attendees safe. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, consume alcohol responsibly, and ensure you have a designated driver for transport to and from the event. 

It’s also a good idea to have plenty of non-alcohol beverages available, such as soda and water, and encourage people to eat rather than just drink. Once the party comes to an end, and the game is about to get underway, ensure you clean up your site properly and leave it as it was before you set up your tailgate. 

Hosting the best tailgate party doesn’t have to be a significant undertaking, but it’s also not something you can plan last minute. Take care of your site’s power needs, plan fun games, and be responsible. You can then enjoy a straightforward, stress-free tailgate party before your highly anticipated sports game begins.

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