Tailgating 101 + TV Readiness

Happy Saturday everyone!

I can't believe how fast this week has flown by and my TV debut will be here in 2 days! I have tried to squeeze in a bit here and there to get ready. As I mentioned this first segment is all about tailgating, which truth be told, I have never done. I spent some time with my best friend Google and wal-la, instant expert. Well, hardly, but let's call it Tailgating for Dummies, I guess.

After surfing a dozen or so sites and some awesome looking recipes via Pinterest, Tailgating is definitely added to my bucket list. Of course if you have ever packed for a family picnic, camping or if you are like me and take half your kitchen with you on your family vacation, you have probably already discovered several of these tips yourself and have a pretty good idea of the organization required for such a party.

  1. If you do this regularly, a good idea is to get a big plastic bin to store all your regular supplies. I'd get a second set of the essentials and keep it ready to toss in the car. Store plates, napkins, utensils, plastic serving utensils, seasonings, foil, plastic bags, garbage bags, grilling utensils, table cloths, and anything like Pam, Cooking Oil or any pantry items you cook with regularly. Keep them all in the bin and then restock it as you clean the items after and you are always ready to go.
  2. I am a list girl. One tip I read that I LOVED was (especially for the regular tailgater) make a list of things you need to bring or do and laminate it. Keep it in the bin and then you can cross it off as you go, wipe it and reuse it over and over.
  3. Apparently ice is a pretty key ingredient. I do this for soccer games all the time. Freeze your water bottles and use them as ice packs. Saves space, weight and as it melts you have ice cold water to drink. You'll probably still need some regular ice for drinks if you prefer yours over the rocks, but this can cut back substantially on how much you need.
  4. Speaking of water, don't forget a gallon or two for washing, cooking and clean up. 
  5. Divide and conquer. Even if you are the hostess with the mostest, it is so much easier if you allow people to bring an item to help out. Just make sure you know who is bringing what and when people ask what they can bring, give them a suggestion (side dish, dessert, chips, beer, whatever...) This will help ensure you have a well rounded meal for your tailgating/picnic.
  6. Location, location, location. You hear this all the time with practically everything, and looks like tailgating is no different. From what I read, trying to find a spot near the end or with some grassy or shady areas to spread out is always a plus. It also makes it easier for friends to find you.
  7. Speaking of which, putting up a tent, decorations, or even a helium balloon will also help identify your spot so friends can find your party. (I would assume with cell phones this isn't totally critical, but what do I know.) The balloon thing could be a little challenging with the national helium shortage we are experiencing right now. (What, you didn't know we are in a helium shortage?)
  8. If you don't invite Pete to your party, you will want to bring some other form of entertainment. Corn hole is always a favorite, but cards, music, any sort of drinking game will help make your spot a favorite.
  9. According to the experts, you want to make sure you have plenty of time. Try to arrive 4-ish hours before the game leaving an hour or so to set up and cook, 2 hours to party and another hour to clean up before kickoff.
  10. Bring plenty of garbage bags. While there may be garbage cans or dumpsters at your site, you need to be prepared to take all of your garbage with you to dispose of it with your own trash. You never know.
  11. If you know where you are tailgating in advance, it is highly recommended to do some research and know any rules prior to your event. Discovering a no alcohol policy after you park and set up would be a total bust.
  12. Don't forget to bring a folding table (or 2) and chairs. The more you plan to cook on site the more counter space you are going to need.

I am sure there are hundreds of other things to list here, but hopefully these will get you off on the right foot. I'd love to hear any of your must haves or best tips.

Be sure to stop back on Monday to see and enter to win the tailgating/picnic items I am giving away and showcasing during Fox 19's Morning News.


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