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Tailgating 101: Winning Strategies for a Football Tradition

Whether you bleed Maize and Blue or you’re a Gator through and through, every football fan looks forward to tailgating almost as much as the game itself. Get the most out of the hours leading up to kick off with our version of tailgating 101.

Make a Game Plan

Football is all about the spread, when it comes to both points and food. Use an app like SignUpGenius to invite others, plan a menu, delegate dishes and coordinate supplies. Everyone will receive reminders before the big game so that no food is forgotten.

Pre-Game Prep

If you’re packing your vehicle and slicing veggies the morning of the game, someone else is getting your prime parking space at the stadium. Serving kebabs? Skewer and marinate the night before while chilling Jell-O shots in team colors. Grilling hamburgers? Slice tomatoes and onions, and pack them in the cooler along with other toppings ahead of time. And don’t forget to clean and oil your grill so foods don’t stick.

Sideline the Mess

Organization and communication is as important off the field as it is on. Make sure everyone tailgating with you can quickly and easily find what they need to prevent much of the mess.

  • Label coolers with contents (beer, water, soda, salads, meat, etc.).
  • Put wet wipes, plastic cutlery, cups, plates, etc. in clear, plastic storage drawers.
  • Hang a paper towel roll from the bars on your shade structure using a bungee cord.
  • Repurpose drive-thru drink holders as crudité plates.
  • Place salt, pepper and other condiments in a cardboard six-pack container.
  • Label a large, plastic container for dirty grill utensils and other non-disposable dishes.
  • Bring a pop-up garbage can with a zippered lid.

You may also want to keep a few laundry products like Tide To Go stain removal pens on hand to prevent BBQ sauce or other drips from ruining beloved jerseys and other team gear.

Be the Playmaker

Don’t forget to bring a football to toss around and some games to play before and after your meal. Cornhole is a classic tailgating game, and is even available with your favorite NFL teams painted on the boards. Spikeball is another fan favorite.

Do you have any other tailgating tips? Share them in the comments below.