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Tailgating 101: Don't Forget These Essentials - Quicken Loans Zing BlogThe end of August/beginning of September is synonymous with many things. It’s during this time that kids return to school after summer vacation and homeowners begin making the transition from summer to fall. This time of the year also signifies the beginning of football season, which is the greatest birthday gift I could ask for (Sept. 4 for any of you wondering).

What’s not to like about football? It offers something for everyone. Whether you’re into the competition, big hits or touchdown celebrations, football – in my opinion – is the greatest sport on earth. It also gives fans the opportunity to do something every weekend their favorite team is playing at home: tailgate.

Even for non-football fans, tailgating is something everyone from kids to adults can enjoy. If you aren’t familiar with tailgating, you’re missing out. If you enjoy hanging out with friends/family, grilling out and playing games, tailgating is for you.

With a little less than three weeks until college football kicks off, it’s time to start getting ready for the first official tailgate of the season. What is needed at a tailgate? Check out my list of essentials below to help make your tailgate party an enjoyable time for everyone!

Food. Lots of food. Saturday has long been my favorite day of the week although that became even more apparent once I experienced my first football Saturday in college. If there’s one thing I learned about tailgating, it’s that you have to have plenty of food. If you do it right, tailgating is an all-day affair. It begins a couple hours before kickoff and resumes when the game ends.

To ensure nobody goes hungry, bring enough food for breakfast and dinner. While some people like to begin their tailgating with breakfast food (such as a donut), I recommend starting off the day by grilling brats, burgers and hot dogs. If you’re someone that likes to watch what you eat, throw that out the window on tailgating days. After all, you only get this opportunity every so often.

Other popular food items include chips, chili, chicken wings and ribs.

Grill. How do you plan to grill burgers, brats, hot dogs, etc. without a grill? While some people go all out and bring their backyard grills, a small charcoal grill will suffice.

Beverages. Adult beverages are common at a tailgate although it’s important to provide other drinks such as water and pop for those who aren’t 21 or want other options. It’s important to remember that people of all ages can tailgate, so the more options, the better.

Along with beverages, ice is another essential. On hot days, it’ll help keep your drinks cold while also helping preserve food while you’re at the game.

Games. These can range from something as simple as a football to something like corn hole, bocce ball or ladder golf. Any outdoor game that can be played in a small space will do.

Furniture. This ranges from tables and chairs to canopies. You’re going to need enough chairs for everyone and tables for people to eat at and hold food. If you want to go all out, a canopy is a good way to stay out of the sun.

Music. If you want everyone to know who you’re rooting for, be sure to play the fight song of your favorite team nice and loud.

While tailgating is a lot of fun, it can also be pretty expensive. When tailgating with a large group of people, it’s a good idea to have everyone provide something. One person can be in charge of bringing beverages, another can bring food to grill, etc. Also, with gas prices so high, carpooling is another option people should take advantage of.

If you aren’t lucky enough to attend every one of your favorite team’s games, take advantage of a man cave. You won’t be bunched in with thousands of other fans, although you’ll be able to watch from the comfort of your own home.

How do YOU tailgate? Did I miss any of the essentials? Let us know in the comments section below!


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