For something that often looks like an impromptu gathering of football fanatics, a truly successful tailgate party involves a lot of planning, prepping and consideration. No matter what your tailgating style is, all football lovers appreciate a successful pre-game celebration that carries on to the final minutes of the fourth quarter. From time-saving to earth-saving, InTown Suites has gathered a few helpful tips and tricks to make your game day tailgate party a touchdown:
Once you have your invite list and tailgate vehicle selected, the next step is planning your venue set-up. Whether there is a chance for rain on game day or the day is predicted to have clear skies and bright sun, a tent shelter is a must-have at every tailgating event. These easily-assembled temporary shelters can not only protect your guests from the rain but also keep away the heat of the sun. Once your tent is packed, it’s time to get cooking. Figure out what appliances you’ll be using and what kind of power source each requires. To avoid any cooking mishaps and disappointed tailgate guests, bring a backup power source just in case a burner doesn’t light or the grill isn’t staying lit.
Make game-day more fun by meal-prepping beforehand. Most would agree that great eats are one of the best parts of tailgating, but for the person behind the grill, it can be a long day. Choose two to three items to grill or cook on-site, and pre-assemble a few scrumptious side dishes like Charred Corn Guacamole, Sunny Broccoli Salad, and Caramel Snack Mix. Meats should be pre-marinated and skewered. Burgers should be pre-shaped and packed between layers of wax paper. Toppings, veggies, dips and cheeses should be pre-cut, pre-mixed and packed up, ready to serve.
You can even prepare hot dishes and dips in advance. Warm Artichoke and Bacon Dip, Indian Summer Turkey Chili, and Hash Brown Casserole can all be premade and heated in oven-safe casseroles on the grill or kept warm in a crockpot. If your favorite football team has a midday game, consider preparing some breakfast burritos or these tasty Reuben Breakfast Sandwiches. Throw some soups in thermoses and settle in for a laid-back morning tailgating experience.
Once your menu is planned and your cooking appliances are packed, it’s time to plan your tailgate set up. Think about a layout that accommodates all your guests and your tailgating needs. Be sure you have enough tables to set up stations for hot food, drinks, snacks, and hand washing. You can always reach out to your fellow tailgating guests to bring an extra table if you are concerned there won’t be enough surface space. Let’s keep thinking ahead and dive into a list of “Can’t Forget” tailgate items.
Your mother was right – there’s no such a thing as being too prepared— especially when it comes to packing for a tailgate party. First, start with the basics. Fill a toolbox with grilling basics (spatulas, basting brushes, wooden skewers, tongs), camping essentials (lighters, toothpicks, matches, bottle opener, can opener, flashlights, batteries, sunscreen, ponchos) and cleanup items (garbage bags, wet wipes, disinfecting wipes, paper towels, plastic zip-top bags, hand sanitizer).
Beyond a first aid kit, you should be prepared for other types of emergencies. Bring a few basic tools to correct any grilling problems that might come up. It never hurts to also have a pair of scissors, tape and markers packed in your supplies. Try to think back to any issues you have faced in past tailgating endeavors and prepare for those same issues should they arise again.
One place not to skimp on is the essentials. Items like plates, napkins, cutlery and cups can easily be saved for the next tailgate party. Do yourself a favor and bring extra of these items. Also, make sure you have enough chairs. If you have any concerns that you don’t have enough, just ask a couple of members of your tailgate crew to bring along some extra chairs. It’ll go a long way to ensuring everyone enjoys themselves.
When it comes to other necessities, you can save space on condiments and spices by sticking them in a disposable six-pack holder. Let your water bottles serve double duty by freezing them overnight. They can function as ice packs in the morning and refreshing cold drinks later in the day. Use these and other multi-purpose methods to maximize your tailgating experience and ensure you have all the necessities at an arm’s reach.
The only one who really stands to lose this football season is Mother Nature. With the wide selection of disposable cutlery, cups, and dishes available today, it’s often the easy option for tailgating. But, all those items pile up, especially if there isn’t recycling available on site. Here are a few environmentally-friendly alternatives to using disposable cutlery and paper dishes.
Like our beer case cooler idea above, there are plenty of life hacks that use reusable and recycled materials, even on the go. Just by making a few simple adjustments to your packing list, you can help protect the environment and your hard-earned money. Instead of everyone running the water for sticky tailgate fingers, consider buying extra bottles of sanitizer or another pack of wet wipes. Instead of disposable plates and bowls, invest in a set of tailgate-only dishware. Then, just bring a large plastic tub and easily take all the dirty dishes home to wash. Instead of hundreds of red solo cups lost to the trash, have everyone bring their own cup. This way, each person can easily keep track of their drink and there’s one less item on your tailgate party packing list.
Another great way to cut back on garbage is by preparing “finger foods.” Grill skewers of veggies, meat and fruit for a garbage-free option. Serve your chili in edible bread bowls. Get really creative with taco salads on the go by using a bag of Doritos as your bowl. Simply add your lettuce, ground beef and other toppings, and voilà! Kids will love being able to eat with their hands and grownups will enjoy not having to balance a plate on their knee all day.
Even though this is the next to the last item on our list, it is the most important! InTown Suites is excited to welcome football fans back to each of our hotels. We want to encourage all of our guests, especially those who will be attending a crowded stadium to continue following CDC Guidelines when in large crowds.
A few specific ways to apply these safety tips to your upcoming tailgate party are:
Need somewhere to stay for your next away-game tailgate party? InTown Suites has over 180 locations spread across 22 states. Check out this list of the properties closest to college football stadiums.
You can easily book your stay online and choose the suite style that best meets your needs. Every suite includes an in-room kitchen, seating and dining areas and super-fast Wi-Fi. Upgraded suites have a few added extras like built-in closets and new bathroom vanities. Premium suites have been completely renovated from top to bottom with new flooring, new furnishings and new kitchens.
What are you waiting for? Book your suite today and start packing for your next tailgate party!