At Flagpole-To-Go, our mission is to make every tailgate unforgettable. In this guide, we’re rounding up some of our best tailgate articles, and the best tips to become the ultimate football fan. From the origins of tailgating to the ultimate setup, explore our guide of tailgate essentials and become a football season pro!
What’s a tailgate, anyway?
Tailgating, an iconic American pastime, dates back to the 19th century when football fans gathered near games, sharing impromptu feasts from wagon tailgates. Today, it's a cultural phenomenon uniting fans, not just for pre-game revelry, but for team spirit, delicious food, and camaraderie. Tailgating's electric atmosphere enhances the game-day experience. Beyond the parking lot, it forges communities and lasting friendships. The economic impact on local businesses and the sports industry is substantial, benefiting fans and economies alike.
Explore more in our article, "What Are Tailgates? Uncovering the Origins and Impact".
It’s All About the Setup
Tailgating season is here, and it's time to elevate your game with these tailgate setup ideas that will make your parking spot the talk of the town. From pre-game spot selection to creating the ultimate kid zone, we've got you covered.
Pre-Game Day Spot Selection
Selecting the perfect location is crucial. Choose a spot as close to the stadium as possible to soak in the energy of the crowd. Ensure you have ample room for your setup, considering your tailgate setup ideas in advance. Prioritize safety with well-lit, accessible spots.
The Hang Out Area
Your hangout area is where the magic happens. Protect your guests from the elements with a tent or canopy in your team's colors. We also recommend arranging your seating strategically to encourage mingling, and add unique options like bean bags or inflatable couches. And make sure to personalize your space with team banners and flags!
The Entertainment Zone
Make your tailgate unforgettable with an epic entertainment zone. Invest in a quality TV setup for pre-game entertainment and bring power sources and extension cords. Don't forget to elevate the fun with traditional tailgate games like corn hole and beer pong!
The Food Station
Presentation is key. Set up a designated grilling area with all the tools you need. For your guests, offer diverse dietary options, clearly labeled for easy access. And make sure to present your food in an appealing way with themed platters and decorative serving utensils!
Don't forget the little fans. To keep them entertained, fill the space with with age-appropriate toys, coloring books, and board games. You can also plan interactive activities, like arts and crafts, and face painting with team colors. Be sure to provide kid-friendly snacks!
When it comes to tailgate setup ideas, creativity is your best friend. Tailgating is about enjoying time with friends and family, so make your space comfortable, inviting, and fun.
Read more of our ideas in "Become a Parking Lot Pro: Tailgate Setup Ideas".
Your Tailgate Must-Haves
Elevate your tailgating game and turn your parking lot gathering into a legendary party with the ultimate tailgate essentials. To ensure you're the MVP of your tailgating crew, we've compiled a comprehensive guide covering essential gear, mouthwatering grub, entertainment, and comfort.
- Grill Master's Delight: A portable grill is the heart of your tailgate, allowing you to cook sizzling burgers, hot dogs, skewers, and more. Ensure you have enough fuel, whether it's propane or charcoal.
- Keep it Cool with Coolers: Don't forget a trusty cooler, preferably with wheels, and ample ice or ice packs to keep your drinks and perishables chilled. Have at least two coolers: one for adults and one for kids.
- Shelter from the Elements: A canopy or tent provides protection from the elements. Consider adding fans or heaters to maximize comfort!
Essential Food and Beverage Items for Tailgating
- Grub Galore: Offer portable, easy-to-eat items like burgers, hot dogs, skewers, and sides like potato salad and coleslaw. Consider unique dishes like grilled pizza.
- Sip in Style: Provide a variety of drinks, including beer, wine, sodas, water, and spirits. Create custom cocktails with your team's colors for an extra dose of team spirit.
Tailgate Essentials for Entertainment
Engage your fellow fans with entertainment options:
- Classic tailgate games like Corn hole, ladder toss, and beer pong offer hours of fun.
- Consider a portable projector for pre-game highlights or a karaoke machine for spirited singing.
- Set up friendly tournaments for added excitement.
- Create a collaborative playlist with fellow tailgaters for a shared musical experience.
Tailgate Supplies for Comfort and Convenience
- Take a Load Off: Offer comfortable seating options, like folding chairs or inflatable furniture, and blankets to keep things cozy when it gets chilly.
- Essential Supplies: Provide sunscreen, bug spray, hand warmers, and hand sanitizer to enhance guest comfort.
- Clean Sweep: Keep the tailgate area tidy with plenty of trash bags and pop-up trash bins for recycling.
- Safety First: Always have a first aid kit on hand for any unforeseen incidents.
Tailgate Party Accessories
Add personal flair and team pride to your tailgate:
- Display team flags, banners, and pennants prominently.
- Use themed tablecloths, cups, and team-branded utensils for a cohesive setup.
- Enhance the atmosphere with themed lighting, such as string lights in your team's colors or lanterns featuring your team's logo.
Your tailgating experience is an opportunity to create unforgettable memories and celebrate the bond that sports can create among friends With the ultimate tailgate essentials list in hand, you can transform your tailgate into a celebration of community, camaraderie, and shared passion.
Read more in our article, “The Ultimate Tailgate Essentials List: Don't Forget These Must-Haves!”
A Guest’s Guide to Game Day
If you're gearing up for a tailgate party and want to be the ultimate guest, this article offers a handy guide on what to bring to elevate the game day experience. Tailgates are all about the thrill of supporting your team and bonding with fellow fans, and you can solidify your status as the "number one friend" with the following essentials.
Tailgate-tailored cocktails: First, consider crafting tailgate-tailored team cocktails to impress everyone. We’ve created two craft cocktails. For an alcoholic option, try out our "End Zone Elixir" with spiced rum, amaretto liqueur, cranberry juice, and orange juice. For non-drinkers, there's the "Touchdown Tea" with cranberry juice, orange juice, lemonade, iced tea, and grenadine syrup – a sure way to become the tailgate mixologist everyone remembers.
Bring on the Finger Food: Bring loaded nachos, various dips, grilled vegetables, or mini sandwiches to satisfy all appetites. For dessert, use a football-shaped cookie cutter to create sugar cookies and set up a decorating station for the young guests.
Get the Tailgate Tunes Going: If you're not the culinary type, create an epic playlist and bring a Bluetooth speaker or even a karaoke machine to get everyone in the mood. Songs like "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Livin' on a Prayer" will be crowd-pleasers.
Unleash your Inner Artist: Set up a face-painting station or bring temporary tattoos, perfect for kids and fans looking to sport their team's colors. Games like corn hole, beer pong, and giant Jenga are timeless favorites that everyone can enjoy.
Give a Game Day Gift: Don't forget to show appreciation for the host by bringing a thoughtful gift like custom tailgate aprons, a personalized tailgate sign, or fan gear. Flags and the Ultimate Tailgate Kit are also great choices.
Spread the Spirit: Share small giveaways with fellow tailgaters. A pennant flag or team koozies are excellent options!
Remember, the ultimate goal of a tailgate is to have fun, create memories, and build connections. By following these tips and bringing the right essentials, you'll impress your fellow fans and gear up for a memorable game day, win or lose.
Read more in our article, "A Guest’s Guide to Game Day: What to Bring to a Tailgate".
We've covered the history and impact of tailgates, offered creative setup ideas, provided a checklist of must-have items, and even shared advice for tailgate guests. Now, armed with this tailgate essentials guide, you're ready to become a tailgating pro and create game day memories that will last a lifetime. So, grab your team colors, gather your friends and family, and let the tailgating festivities begin!