With football season in full swing, you and your fellow football fans have plenty of opportunities to show your team spirit. The tailgate party possibilities are virtually limitless, from Friday Night Lights to College Ball Saturdays to Pro Football Sundays! If you’ve never hosted a tailgate party in the past – or your first attempt was a bit of a fumble – the football aficionados at Woody’s Bar-B-Q have pulled together a touchdown-worthy list of tailgate tips. After more than 40 years of catering everything from tailgate parties to team meals, we’ve learned a thing or two (or, in this case, EIGHT) along the way…
- Location, Location, Location
If you plan to attend the game, selecting a location close to the stadium is essential – ensuring a leisurely stroll to your seats in time for kickoff. That might require you to get there HOURS before the game. Do a little research about prime locations and timing so you don’t have a LONG walk ahead of you! An important note – proximity to the stadium isn’t the only desirable factor. You’ll also want convenience to the nearest restroom and/or port-o-potties. If the latter is your only option, make sure you have a large bottle of hand sanitizer or handy wipes on hand for your guests.
- Raise the Roof
From blaring sun to rainy skies, it’s wise to invest in a tailgate tent to offer your guests shelter. Since most tailgate spaces are in a parking lot and the width of a standard parking space is roughly 9 feet wide, you’ll want to find a tent no larger than 9’ x 9’ so you’re not encroaching on your temporary “tailgate neighbor’s” space. If you want a little privacy, invest in a tent with three side panels. If you’ve got a “more the merrier” approach to life, tailgate tents with a top only tend to be more economical and hospitable.
- Have Plenty of Seating
While it’s likely that you’ve pulled together an invitation list of your favorite fellow football fans, you’re always bound to run into someone you know at a tailgate party. In that case, make sure you have enough seating to accommodate your invitees, as well as a few extras for passersby! To lighten your responsibility load, you might want to ask your guests to bring their own folding spectator chairs.
- Televise the Pre-Game Festivities
Once you have a tailgate or two under your belt and you’ve really got the “bug,” it might be time to invest in a smartTV, portable generator, and digital TV antenna. That way, you and your guests can get all hyped up for the game by watching the pundits make their predictions and other pre-game festivities. Guests who don’t have tickets to the game but don’t want to miss the tailgate party can stay behind, protect everyone’s valuables, and watch the game while you’re in the stands. If all that equipment is not in the cards for your NEXT tailgate party, create a playlist of your team’s fight songs on your phone and play them intermittently over a portable speaker. That will work well in getting everyone excited in time for your team to take the field.
- Make Sure Everyone Stays Hydrated
Whether you have a group of party animals coming or a fun mix of families with kids, it’s important to have a cooler filled with beverages. Bottled water will help keep everyone hydrated, juice boxes always go over well with the little ones, soda is excellent for designated drivers and cocktail mixers, and good old-fashioned ice-cold beer is a staple at most tailgate gatherings. Check to make sure you won’t be impacted by open container laws wherever you decide to set up. If you’re clear to drink the day away, you can set up a makeshift bar in the back of your tailgate where your guests can craft their own concoctions. Make sure you have plenty of cups, mixers, stirrers, limes, etc., to keep everyone happy. As always, please drink responsibly.
- Speaking of Hydration… Have an “Exit Strategy”
Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of a successful tailgate party is that everyone makes it to the game and HOME safe. Check to see that all your guests have a ride home if they’ll be drinking – whether it’s a designated driver, mass transit, or a ride-share provider.
- Plan Some Fun and Games
There are page after page of ideas on the internet of great games to play during a tailgate party – many of which you can find on Amazon or at your local big-box sporting goods store. While waiting to make the walk to the stadium, your guests can have fun playing cornhole, ladder toss, or ring toss. Bring a few footballs, too, so they can revisit their glory days and toss the old pigskin around.
- Set Out a Winning Spread
Last but certainly not least, we come to our FAVORITE part of the tailgate party… the food. While burgers and hot dogs are a general favorite at tailgate parties, they require you to bring a grill and do all the work to feed your guests before game time. Don’t be surprised to find yourself sitting in the stands, worried about whether that grill will be cooled off in time for the drive home or if it’s ignited your tailgate tent while left unattended. Instead, you can let Woody’s Bar-B-Q do the cooking FOR YOU! Design your own crowd-pleasing tailgate feast from our selection of slow-smoked meats sold by the pound, ribs by the rack/slab, sides and banana pudding by the quart or gallon, gallons of sweet tea, and whole Sky-High Pies. To find the Woody’s Bar-B-Q near you and view their menu, visit the Locations page at www.Woodys.com! It’s up to you to provide the folding table to serve as your buffet and pick up your feast before the game.
We hope your favorite teams have a winning season!