Wondering how to begin planning your next tailgate event? We spoke to Douglas Dillon, owner of MyTailgate.com, specializing in creating the ultimate tailgate party, to find out exactly how to produce the best gathering possible. Check out his tips on making your next tailgating event an overwhelming success!
Since our first game back in 1991, every trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a University of Michigan football game is a special event for me! Since 2003, we’ve parked in the same lot and in the exact same location. Many of the faces we see at home games have become close friends. We’ve watched their children grow up, graduate, get married and have children of their own. During the summer I count the number of Saturdays until the first home game of the season. The relationships formed during tailgates have become as important to me as going into Michigan Stadium to watch the game!
For a noon kickoff, I suggest something fairly simple in the morning, such as pancakes, bacon, bagels or doughnuts. These are easy to prepare or even purchase ahead of time at the bakery or grocery store. After the game, something a little more substantial can be prepared once everyone is back to their cars around 4 p.m. For a 3:30 p.m. kickoff, I recommend just the opposite, preparing a main meal before the game and doing something simple afterwards. After a full day of tailgating and the energy expended watching the game, the last thing you want to do is work the grill.
Weather plays an enormous factor in determining what to serve. As the weather gets cooler, nothing is better than a nice pot of soup! Most soups or stews can be made ahead of time, so all you’ll need is a heat source once at the tailgate location. Propane grills or even a slow cooker attached to a generator work wonders. It’s also important to develop a rain plan when there appears to be a strong chance of rain on game day. In the case of inclement weather, “Plan B” may be as simple as instructing everyone to meet at a local restaurant or bar before or after the game to continue festivities without the rain spoiling your fun!
If you are tailgating with several people bringing cars, it’s always a great idea to have everyone pitch in with the food and any other tailgate necessities. Try a potluck tailgate by assigning a different dish or course to each person attending. Appetizers, the main course, sides, salad and desserts can all be prepared individually to lighten the burden of one person being responsible for everything. You may want to develop a collection of tailgating recipes served throughout the season that can easily be referenced and shared with the group.
In a sea of cars, it can become extremely difficult for someone to find your tailgate location. One way to combat this is with a telescoping flagpole. Suddenly your flag is flying 20 feet high in the air for all to see! It’s a great way for people to identify your tailgate, especially if you fly a distinctive flag.
One of game day’s frustrations is sitting in your car trying to get in and out of the stadium lot and suffering endless bottleneck traffic. Why not aim to arrive a little earlier and stay a bit longer? This will let others suffer the bottlenecks while you enjoy being outside on a beautiful late summer or early autumn afternoon with your friends. The post-game show may even be on the radio to re-live the game’s highlights. Or, play catch with your son or daughter. These alternatives are far more preferable than enduring stop and go traffic.
Tailgating parties offer the perfect solution for socializing on game day! For more information on tailgating products and accessories, check outMyTailgate. Share your tailgate stories and photos with us on Facebook or Twitter!