Planning an epic tailgate party?
If you’re the #1 sports fan among your family and friends, throwing an unforgettable tailgate is a perfect way to prove it. Getting people together to celebrate before the big game is a classic pastime and you want your guests to enjoy.
So how do you make sure your tailgate party goes off without a hitch? Read on for everything you need to know to throw the party of the year.
When it comes to throwing your tailgate party, you can never be too prepared. The more you can do in advance, the better off you’ll be on game day.
You don’t want to spend your time as a host running around and making sure everything is perfect at the party. You want to be able to enjoy time with your friends and family and relish in the incredible party you’ve thrown.
Take an inventory of what can be done beforehand.
Marinate the meat you’ll be cooking or cook it in advance if you don’t plan on grilling on site. Cut fruit and vegetables in advance, mix your drinks and ice them before so they’re not warm when you arrive.
Be sure to have a way to keep warm items warm and cool items cool.
Also, check with the stadium regarding rules and regulations when it comes to tailgating. You don’t want to arrive and be asked to leave or refrain from using any items you have planned. This could throw a major wrench in your party.
When it comes to preparing and buying the food, remember where you’ll be and that resources will be limited. Stick to foods that are easy to eat and manageable to portion out and clean up.
Finger foods like pre-made sandwiches can be great. So are wings, nachos, and chips and dip.
Nothing says tailgate like a BBQ so decide what meats you want to make and go for it. The most popular and easiest to handle are hamburgers and hotdogs.
Be sure to offer vegetarian options for any of your guests who don’t eat meat. Bring condiments and fixings for anything you cook and have them set up so they’re easily accessible to guests.
Don’t forget the sides. The biggest crowd pleasers are baked beans, cornbread, and potato or pasta salad. If it’s really hot outside, however, skip any mayonnaise-heavy items as they won’t stay fresh.
Offer a fruit salad as an alternative and lighter side for anyone who’s watching what they eat. It’s also a refreshing snack in the warmer weather.
When it comes to a little something sweet, keep it simple and easy to grab and go. Think cupcakes, cookies or brownies which people can eat without being seated and doesn’t require any cleanup.
A great tailgate party has to have plenty of drinks to go around.
Consider making a signature cocktail that you mix and chill ahead of time. This will make it easy for guests to grab a cup and pour a premade drink as opposed to mixing their own on site.
For those who aren’t interested in the signature cocktail, you should have at least two or three types of liquor available and some mixers. You don’t need to go overboard with elaborate cocktails fixings.
Stick to the basics like whiskey and ginger ale or vodka and club soda. Be sure to slice some limes and garnishes ahead of time for cocktail toppers.
Bring plenty of beers in a cooler and have frozen water bottles on hand because they’ll defrost but remain cool by the time your friends arrive. Staying hydrated is important since you’ll be out in the sun for several hours so be sure to have plenty of water.
You’ll need bottle openers and cups. Bring a marker so people can write their names on their cup and reuse them in an effort to conserve waste.
If you want to add a splash to some of your items, consider getting custom bottle openers with your team name on them.
When you’re outside for many hours, comfort is key. Depending on the weather, prepare in advance.
If it’s hot out, have an area for shade by settling up an umbrella or awning cover where people can gather to get out of the sun. You can also bring handheld mini-fans to pass around to friends so they can cool themselves down.
If the weather is chilly, bring blankets and hand warmers for guests. Be sure you have enough to go around so everyone can stay comfortable. If you don’t have enough at home, suggest that your friends bring their own.
Be sure to have folding chairs so people can sit. You should also bring a folding table for food and drink set up, and a second table if you want people to be able to sit and eat in a more proper way.
Sometimes eating and drinking isn’t enough to keep people entertained for hours at a time. This is especially the case if you have young ones around the tailgate.
Bring something for people to do. This could be as simple as a football and a frisbee. People can get some energy out and stay active throwing it around.
You can also bring easy group games like Catch Phrase which doesn’t require pieces and can be played in teams. You can also bring a couple decks of cards if people want to sit at a folding table and play.
Don’t forget the music! Every good tailgate needs tunes so pack a portable speaker and connect it to your phone. You can stream music on apps like Spotify or create a playlist in advance if you’re worried you won’t have good reception for streaming.
With the tips above, you’re well on your way to executing the perfect tailgate party. Just remember to plan in advance and keep things streamlined and simple when possible.
Be sure to check out our list of shows so you can stay up-to-date on your favorite teams!