Tailgating: History & Tips for Success

David Aker
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Believe it or not…there actually is an association for tailgaters!  The American Tailgater Association (ATA).

Tailgaters don’t have to be convinced to tailgate. It’s like a force of nature.

  • 2 out of 5 tailgaters start tailgating more than 5 hours before kick-off.
  • 35% are so devoted to tailgating that they never actually enter the football stadium!

The art of tailgating can be described as a delicate balance between fandom and celebration.  The act of pre-game celebration was introduced to competitive sports in 1869 at the inaugural intercollegiate football game between Princeton and Rutgers.

Tailgating is a large part of American culture, and is enjoyed today more than ever. Food and beverages have become a staple before the big game.

Whether it’s the companionship or the love of the game that can only be produced hours before an intense sporting event, the act of pre-celebration has often become more important than the games themselves.

To date, tailgating has changed as much as the game of football itself. Where turbans were once worn to distinguish which team you were rooting for, caps, jerseys, themed T-shirts, and body paint now are the norm. And where food was once transported in a horse-drawn wooden wagon, grills and coolers now are transported with ease, allowing tailgaters to consume the best of foods and beverages on the road. Despite the changes in the evolution of tailgating, one thing has endured: the fans’ spirit.

Tailgating has become an “art form”.  Use these 11 Tips for Throwing the Perfect Tailgate Party:

  • Invite the right people (make sure everyone is in the mood to celebrate; better yet, be the life of the party yourself!)
  • Expect the weatherman to be wrong ( Plan for rain, snow, and wind and be prepared.)
  • Have enough food
  • Provide a variety of drinks
  • Don’t forget the essentials (cups, plates, napkins, utensils, and so on. )
  • Don’t forget the music
  • Have things to do (Cornhole, horseshoes, and a football to toss around)
  • Chairs are a must
  • Don’t forget to decorate (Deck your tailgate out in your teams colors and gear. There is no such thing as too much when it comes to decorating your tailgate.)
  • TVs and radios
  • Enhance your tailgate party with a flag and flagpole from Flags International

For more information, see the Sources below.