Baseball championship games are on the horizon, and both college footballers and the pros are battling it out on the gridiron. Regardless of your game day preference, it means tailgate festivities are firing up in the parking lot.
1. Check the rule book
The No. 1 rule to having a great time is knowing the rules of the venue where you’re tailgating. Every place is different, so check beforehand for some of these guidelines to maximize the good times:
- Parking lot opening times
- Required times to vacate
- Regulations on pop-up tents, propane heaters and grills
- Proper disposal of trash and coals from grills
- Where you’re allowed to set up
2. Easy-to-clean cuisine
Premade and pre-prepared are key for pregame cuisine. Make your party more “Pinterest-ing” and easier to clean up by thinking beyond the basics of grilled burgers and hot dogs. Consider premade cold snacks like cream cheese veggie pinwheels or homemade buffalo chicken dip to complement the main courses. Trail mix, jerky and fresh fruit are also easy home runs.
3. Garbage time
Speaking of cleaning, be a good citizen by picking up after yourself. Many parking lots that allow tailgating will have dumpsters, so bring several trash bags to keep your refuse contained and your area clean for future tailgaters. Extra points for bringing a bag for recyclables. Simply load up the bag in your vehicle and do your part to help the planet.
4. Fare the weather
Whether it’s hot and sunny or cold and rainy, knowing what to bring to brave the conditions makes every tailgate more comfortable. A pop-up tent can do wonders for keeping you cool in the heat and dry in the rain; just make sure the legs are weighted down if the conditions get windy. When it gets cold, air-activated heat packs can serve to keep you toasty when the grill isn’t fired up.
5. The game outside the game
You could always opt for throwing a football for hours, but tailgate games like beanbag toss (aka “cornhole” or “bags”), ladder golf and washers (my personal favorite) are also big hits. If you do end up opting for the football, bring some extra ice for your sore postgame shoulder there, champ.
6. Tailgate optional
Sure, it’s called “tailgating,” but that doesn’t mean you have to have a truck to hang out before the game. SUVs and crossover vehicles both are great for tailgating, and the back hatch can serve as a makeshift umbrella if it gets a little rainy. If you're looking to upgrade your vehicle or try something new for tailgating season, apply online to help save time at the dealership.
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