Football is Back! (Some Tailgating Tips)

Football Season Has Returned

In just a week, not only will we get a much needed three day weekend, but we will celebrate the “end of summer”.  And with the end of summer, comes fall. Football, changing leaves, crisp air, bonfires, apple cider…and football!

Growing up in the South

I was born and raised to eat, sleep, and breathe football.  When football season ends each year, I find myself a little depressed, and wondering what to do during the rest of the year. College football fans, are particularly committed to the season, and many hold season tickets or block off calendars to enjoy Saturday Football.

 

Friday Night Lights

Friday night football traditions are also welcomed back as local high schools play in their first varsity games of the season.  The bright stadium lights, sound of the band marching into the stadium, the smell of cheesy nachos and buttery popcorn, and the feeling of hundreds of your close friends crammed into the bleachers alongside you.  Most Cobb County schools host unforgettable Friday Night games, and build invaluable memories for students and families that can’t be replaced.

Check out schedules for some of the East Cobb schools.

Looking for stats and info on the upcoming college football season?  Click here for the current team rankings.

Not only do fans enjoy the game, but the first half of the game day experience, tailgating, is equally important. The time spent with family and friends, where you can have quality conversations and enjoy food and drinks together. The rivalries between teams fade away and old and new friends come together, treating each other as if they’ve been lifelong friends.

Some Tips for Your Next Tailgating Party

To make your tailgating experience comfortable, memorable and enjoyable for all, here are some must-dos that have made a difference for me in my tailgating experiences.

Checklists

Make a checklist. Try to write down anything and everything you will need during the day.  There’s a lot that goes into tailgating, and you’ll need many items. If you make a checklist ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to forget something.

 

Welcoming Friends

Have plenty of solo cups handy and extra chairs available for friends to stop by.  Tie balloons or flags to your car or tent so you can easily be found in a crowd.

Stay Cool

The first games of the season are definitely HOT.  Staying cool is essential to enjoying your tailgating time in any way.  This box fan hack is a simple way to keep air flowing throughout your tailgate tent.  Keep in mind the safety of others, of course. If you don’t want to hang it above you, try putting box fans in the corners to increase air movement.  Support your team with flags and hang them on the sides of the tent where the sun typically shines through. The flags will provide shade, and also make things festive.

Supplies

You will end up with a ton of garbage and waste.  Grab some extra garbage bags and keep them in the bottom of your bag of plastic utensils and flatware.  Extra Gallon sized Ziploc Bags are useful for dirty utensils if you don’t want to use the throw away kind.  Pop up hampers can make for great storage of large items like picnic blankets, towels, or quilts for the cold games.  You can also use them as garbage cans (lined with a garbage bag) once you’re using the blankets. Tupperware drawer containers, toolboxes, and tackle boxes are great for storing products you use regularly, if you tailgate often.  Tape the sides closed when traveling, or wrap bungees around the drawers to keep from opening.

 

Entertainment

Music is essential at a fun tailgate.  Make a playlist ahead of time. Try to include a mix of decades with your music choice, and accommodate different groups of people. You’ll want everyone to enjoy themselves and music always brings everyone together. If you have your playlist made ahead of time, you won’t have to keep switching music and looking for new songs.  Don’t forget, there are often little ears around. Depending on the crowd expected, you might want to think about “radio edit” versions of music.

Pack personal items

You will be there all day long. Pack a change of clothes, some extra deodorant, hand sanitizer, and whatever else you may need to get through your day. Trust me, you won’t be sorry and you’ll be thankful you have it.

Game time

Clear bags/ most stadiums have moved to a clear bag policy, and the bags have to be a certain size. There are many stores in college towns that sell these bags, but you can find really cute ones on Etsy that can be personalized and monogrammed.

Food

Try to cook as much as possible ahead of time.  Recipes that are good when cold are particularly better, so you don’t have to reheat.  If you have a portable grill, or small camping stove, soup, chili, hot dogs, and hamburgers are great for a chilly tailgate. Crock-pots and slow cookers are the perfect way to prepare your favorite pulled pork barbeque ahead of time, then keep warm.  For the warmer games, try pasta salad, fruit and veggies, chips, and sandwich trays. Our personal favorite is a chicken nugget tray from Chick-Fil-A. It feeds a ton of people and is delicious cold as well as hot. Sausage biscuits and mustard are another item that is good both cold and hot. 

With all of that being said, football is just fun and exciting by itself.  If you can’t throw the tailgate together, just head to the game a few hours early and enjoy the town and atmosphere.  Happy Fall!

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