Last week, my post of “tailgate party planning part 1” reviewed what you needed to consider before you left home for a tailgate party. This week we’ll consider some tips for what to do at the stadium in “tailgate party planning part 2.”
• Choose your location wisely. Tailgating out in the middle of a busy parking lot can be dangerous. To keep your guests safe, back into your parking spot, leaving room between you and the car behind you, or try parking at the end of a row. You might also park next to the surrounding grassy area. This will prevent you and your friends from being hit by oncoming traffic. You should park next to another car or a sidewalk for optimum safety. But you might want to pick straight into the space and use the back end or the trunk of your vehicle for coolers or for refreshments
• Get there early. Check with the stadium to find out what time the gates open, and then be there right when they open. Arriving early gives you the best chance of finding that perfect spot, and gives you plenty of time to set everything up. You want to have at least 2 hours of tailgating time before the game starts.
• Make yourself seen. Hang some balloons up so that your friends can find your tailgating party in the crowd. Flags, signs or other decorative items will help your guests find their way to you in the crowd of tailgates.
• Check out the neighborhood. A good tailgating party is one that meshes well with those around it. So head on over to your neighboring parties and say hello. It’s a good way to meet people, and may come in handy if you run out of something.
• Pay attention at the grill. You can avoid many grill-related accidents by simply paying attention to what you’re doing. Never leave the grill unattended, and always use the proper tools and utensils when working with a hot grill. Avoid wearing loose clothing, and keep the party-goers away from the grill at all times. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times. Regularly check it to make sure it hasn’t exceeded its shelf life.
• Keep your food at the right temperature. If possible, prepare the majority of your food before the tailgate and transport it to the game. If you must cook it, keep the raw ingredients in a separate cooler and grill them until they reach the proper temperature. Never reuse marinades. If your tailgate is going to last more than two hours, wrap up any leftovers and promptly put them on ice to prevent spoiling.
• Practice good sanitation. Offer your guests hand sanitizer before and after to meal.
• Provide nonalcoholic options for designated drivers, children or anyone else who doesn’t want to imbibe at the tailgate.
• Be prepared for the clean-up. Make sure to bring heavy-duty plastic bags for garbage. If you’re conscientious about recycling, have receptacles available for each kind of recyclable (paper, aluminum, glass and plastic). Paper towels and glass cleaner are handy for any spills, and premoistened towelettes are great grease-busters when hands get sticky from finger foods.
• Pack everything away before the game starts. It’s better to be safe than come back to find your grill, table and cooler missing. When repacking the vehicle, leave the cooler accessible for a quick snack or soda before heading home.
Check out my earlier post on “Tailgate Party Planning, Part 1.”