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A Guest’s Guide to Game Day: What to Bring to a Tailgate


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Introduction to Tailgate Parties


So, you’ve been invited to a tailgate. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of being with friends on game day—the rush of adrenaline, the camaraderie among fellow fans, and cheering on your team to victory together. Your hosts likely have the essentials covered—the sizzling grill, the trusty cooler, and those ever-comfortable fold-out chairs. But what can you bring to a tailgate, as a guest, to elevate this tailgate experience to a whole new level? With our list of 8 indispensable items, you'll not only solidify your status as the ultimate team supporter but also earn the title of "number one friend" in the process!


1. Tailgate-Tailored Team Cocktails


Your tailgate is bound to have a communal cooler filled with drinks. But will they have custom team-themed cocktails? Turn heads with your mixology skills by crafting signature cocktails inspired by football season, or better yet, your team's colors. Lucky for you, we have two suggestions to knock your friend’s socks off!  

For an alcoholic option, try out the “End Zone Elixir”

  • Ingredients: 
    • 1.5 oz spiced rum
    • 1 oz amaretto liqueur
    • 2 oz cranberry juice
    • 1 oz orange juice
    • Crushed ice
    • Orange twist for garnish
  • Instructions:
    • Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice.
    • In a shaker, combine the spiced rum, amaretto liqueur, cranberry juice, and orange juice. Shake well.
    • Strain the mixture into the glass over the ice.
    • Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
    • Stir gently before serving.


For a non-alcoholic option, create the “Touchdown Tea”

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 oz cranberry juice
    • 2 oz orange juice
    • 1 oz lemonade
    • 1 oz iced tea (brewed and cooled)
    • 1/2 oz grenadine syrup
    • Ice cubes
    • Orange slices and maraschino cherries for garnish
    • Instructions:
      • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
      • In a shaker, combine the cranberry juice, orange juice, lemonade, and iced tea. Shake well.
      • Pour the mixture over the ice in the glass.
      • Slowly drizzle the grenadine syrup into the glass. It will settle at the bottom to create a layered look.
      • Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.
      • Stir gently before serving.


    With either of these, you’re bound to be the tailgate mixologist everyone remembers!




    2. Finger Food


    If you're aiming to achieve hero status at the tailgate, consider bringing some crowd-pleasing dishes to the table. Start by consulting your host to ensure your culinary offerings align with their game plan. Here are a few delectable suggestions:

      • Loaded Nachos: A big tray of loaded nachos with all the fixings is a crowd-pleaser. Think cheese, jalapeños, sour cream, and guacamole.
      • Dips and Chips: A variety of dips, from spinach and artichoke to buffalo chicken, served with an assortment of chips, will keep everyone munching happily.
      • Grilled Vegetables: For a healthier option, grill up some fresh veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, and asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil and your favorite seasonings.
      • Mini Sandwiches: Mini sliders with different fillings like pulled pork, chicken, and classic hamburgers are a hit with hungry fans.


      3. Embrace Dessert Duty


      While your party-hosting friend may be all about mastering the grill for the main courses, you can earn yourself some serious "brownie" points by taking charge of the dessert department. The key is to keep it finger-friendly. We recommend using a football-shaped cookie cutter to create delightful sugar cookies. For a touch of extra fun, consider setting up a cookie decorating station for the young guests at the party. They're bound to relish the activity and savor the sweet treats!


      flagpole-to-go koozie


      4. Create an Epic Playlist


      If food and drink aren’t your forte, fear not! You can make your mark by creating an EPIC playlist. Put your musical talents to use and bring along a trusty Bluetooth speaker to kick-start the party. Bonus points if you can get your hands on a karaoke machine—the tailgate party will turn into a chorus of team pride. It's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

      Here’s a few songs to get your tailgate playlist started. We’ll leave the rest up to you! 

      • "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver
      • "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi
      • "Red Solo Cup" by Toby Keith
      • "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus
      • "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey


      5. Unleash Your Inner Artist


      If you're armed with artistic talents, why not transform the party into the ultimate fan zone by setting up a face-painting station? The kids, in particular, will be overjoyed to sport their team's colors. If artistic endeavors aren't your forte, don't worry; you can still ramp up the enthusiasm by bringing along temporary tattoos. They're a fun way for everyone to join in the team spirit!


      man holding short flagpole


      6. Game Time


      Corn hole, beer pong, giant Jenga, and can jam – if you've got a game in your arsenal, don't forget to pack it for the tailgate! These classics are timeless crowd-pleasers suitable for all ages. Get ready for spirited matches that will have everyone eager to take their turn and join in the fun!


      7. Show Appreciation for the Host


      Organizing a tailgate party involves a significant investment of time, money, and planning. Express your gratitude by bringing a thoughtful gift for the host. Consider options like custom tailgate aprons, a personalized tailgate sign, or fan gear to make their day extra special. We're particularly fond of flags and our Ultimate Tailgate Kit, guaranteed to leave a lasting impression and provide them with years of enjoyment!




      8. Share the Spirit with Everyone


      If you're looking to foster new friendships and create a lasting impression, consider distributing small giveaways to all your fellow tailgaters. A 12" x 18" sports pennant flag is an excellent choice to ignite team spirit among the crowd. Alternatively, gifting team koozies adds a touch of fun and functionality, ensuring that your gesture is one that everyone will fondly remember!


      Conclusion: Embrace the Magic of Game Day! 


      Remember, the ultimate goal is to have fun! Tailgate parties are a time-honored tradition that brings people together to celebrate their love for sports and their favorite teams. By following the tips and packing the essential items outlined in this article, you'll know what to bring to a tailgate to impress your fellow fans! Come prepared with great food, drinks, and entertainment, and gear up for game day. And remember, whether your team wins or loses, the true spirit of tailgating lies in the memories and connections made along the way. 



      The Ultimate Flagpole Kit


      Still wondering what to bring to a tailgate? For us at Flagpole-To-Go, game day isn’t complete without a flagging display! Our Ultimate Tailgate Kit comes with a telescoping flagpole and tire mount—everything you need to fly your team colors high! Elevate your tailgate experience with a display that's bound to make a lasting impression.


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