Tailgating Essentials: What To Pack And How To Act Before The Big Game

Dating back at least as far as a Greenbay Packers game in 1921 and possibly even the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, the tradition of tailgating is now synonymous with America's undying love of sports. For those new to this pastime, we've compiled a few points to consider as you gear up for the big game.

Get There Early

Plan on getting to the stadium early to establish dominance and start partying early. For example: If the game starts at 5 p.m., arriving at noon is normal.

Where To Park

Because you're getting there early, you should be able to park near the front of the stadium — which is cool if you plan on hanging out after the game ends while traffic clears out. But if you plan on skating out early, park toward the end zones of the parking lot.

The Food

Food might be the most important component of tailgating. From tailgating classics like hot dogs and burgers to more labor-intensive delicacies such as ribs and even lobster rolls, doing tailgating right means good eats. If the game is earlier, don't rule out breakfast foods and drinks.

Beer & Water

What's a party without indulging in some adult beverages? Make sure to fill the cooler with an array of beers for pregame but don't forget about the non-drinkers. Always pack water and remember to stay hydrated.

Show Your Team Spirit

Donning a jersey and painting your face is expected. Go the extra mile by decorating your tailgate area in team colors — from flags and tents to tablecloths.

Love Thy Neighbor

Tailgating should be a friendly experience — so chat up your neighbors. After all, you'll be sharing space with them for the next few hours. Neighborly gestures might include sharing condiments and snacks or even engaging in a friendly culinary throwdown.

Play Games

You can't actually play footy, but you can still get active around the tailgate. Among the more portable options include good old-fashioned cornhole (beanbag toss), flip cup and beer pong.

Enjoy The Game

Make your way into the stadium, find your seat and cheer your heart out. Make friendly bets or jabs if you're stuck next to the enemy. Don't be the person taking selfies every five seconds — no one can enjoy a game around that.

Safety First

This is a big one: Drink responsibly, don't pick fights or ever drive while intoxicated. Remember that meat should be stored in a separate cooler and follow temperature guidelines — 130 degrees (rare) to 170 degrees (well-done) for steak and 165 degrees for chicken or ground meat.

Clean Up After Yourself

Make sure you pick up all of your trash and dispose of it responsibly. Pack up any left over food and share it to avoid waste.

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