When you buy tickets to watch your favorite team play, you are not spending all that money just to watch four quarters of football. You are paying for an experience. You are paying for the atmosphere in and around the stadium. If you just wanted to watch them play, you could watch on your TV from the comfort of your own home. A big part of the experience you are paying for is tailgating. You might even spend more time tailgating than you do in your seats.
What is tailgating? Simply put, it is a party outside of the stadium that takes place before the game. Traditionally, you grill up some game day classics like burgers and hot dogs and drink a couple beers. You just hang out, have a good time, and get excited for the big game with all the other fans tailgating. You may play a couple of games of cornhole. It is really just an excuse to break out the grill and kick back before the game gets started.
Events To Tailgate
Tailgating is most popular for football games. Most NFL fans usually head up to the stadium a few hours before kick-off to grill up some burgers and have a couple of beers. If you are paying all that money for the ticket, you might as well make the most out of it. College football games are also popular tailgating events, especially for college students. College football games are great events for both students and alumni to attend. They can meet up with some of their friends and former classmates before watching their college’s team take the field.
Apart from football games, which are the most popular events at which to tailgate, there are other things that people can tailgate. Concerts are another big event where people often tailgate. Concerts usually take place at stadiums so there is plenty of space to tailgate. Unlike football where you can tailgate at every game, you can’t really tailgate at every concert. Sometimes concerts are indoors or in areas with small parking lots so tailgating is not an option. I think that tailgating at concerts is best for summer concerts at outdoor venues.
NASCAR is another really popular tailgating event. Tailgating NASCAR is fun because you can tailgate the entire weekend. Unlike other events where you have to pack up and go not too long after getting there, you can rent a campsite near the race track and just tailgate all weekend long. People like to bring their RVs and campers with them and just sleep and tailgate in them for the weekend.
Those are the three most common events where people tailgate, but there are other events that can still be tailgated. This includes golf tournaments, tennis matches, baseball games, horse races, or really anything you prefer. For the adults, you can even tailgate at your kids’ games if you want to. Tailgating does not really only apply to a few events, it is just about hanging out, having a good time, and grilling up some food in the parking lot. Tailgating is like a parking lot barbecue.
Tips for Having Fun While Tailgating
Having fun while tailgating is not difficult. You will have a hard time finding someone who is not having fun at a tailgate. How could you hate it? It is usually nice out and its an excuse to drink, eat, and hang out with your friends. My biggest tip for having fun while tailgating is to just relax. I would shut your mind off from work or school and just enjoy the moment.
Also, make sure to bring everything you need. I covered everything you need to tailgate in my post How to Tailgate: The Ultimate Tailgating Guide. Some of the essentials include a grill, food, drinks, and a couple of tailgate games. Those items are staples of pretty much every tailgate.
Everything is better with friends, and tailgates are no exception. Tailgating is much more fun when you have a group of people to tailgate with. Tailgating is possible with just two people, but it is more fun when you get a big group of people together and just have a pot luck-style tailgate. You don’t necessarily have to all park near each other to tailgate together. You could all meet at one person’s spot and bring the tailgate there. A lot of college kids have friends at different tailgates so they can switch up and join different tailgates.
Things to Keep in Mind
Don’t forget to check the weather before you leave the house. You want to make sure you are prepared for what the weather is going to be like during the time you are tailgating. It might be cold enough for a sweatshirt when you leave your house in the morning, but by midday you will probably regret wearing that sweatshirt.
You also want to be prepared in case it rains. Bring some rain gear and a change of clothes so you can do your best to stay dry. If it is going to rain at your tailgate, check out our post Tips for Tailgating in the Rain. I talked about everything you should bring to your tailgate in the event that it rains.
On the other hand, you will also want to be prepared if it is going to be hot out. A lot of tailgates take place in the late summer where the weather can be brutally hot. You will want to make sure to stay well hydrated and dress comfortably. Staying hydrated is important to prevent heat stroke so I would bring plenty of water and ice with you.
Lastly, don’t forget about your trash. Bring some trash bags with you so you can throw everything out as you go, and don’t leave a mess behind. Some stadiums could even fine you for not picking up your trash! Putting a few trash bags out when getting everything set up will just make cleaning everything up at the end easier.
I hope this article answered your questions and you have a better understanding on what tailgating is. For more articles related to tailgating, check out our tailgating section!