One of my sons was a member of Band Company during his years at Virginia Military Institute. He was in band throughout high school, so being assigned to Band Company was expected. On the weekends of football games, VMI held a big dress parade of the entire corps on the parade field on the Friday afternoon before the game. It was always fun to go up to see the parade, especially when my son became the Regimental Drum Major in his senior year and got to lead the band in all his finery.
Tailgating at VMI on the parade field and surrounding parking spaces is a big tradition on game day. All the cadets on campus are expected to go to the game, so they love attending the tailgates of parents and alumni. So, this VMI Band Tailgate I set up was a labor of love in honor of my son and his friends. But I share this tailgate so that you might get some ideas to adapt to tailgates for your loved ones who are involved in music or another activity at their schools.
I brought a portable table up in my mini-van and covered it with a red bed sheet. I set up two red VMI portable chairs. Then I used yellow for my other decorative accessories, because VMI folks are all about their school colors of red and yellow. I also used yellow VMI plastic cups to hold my flatware and a red plastic VMI megaphone atop the snare drum and upside-down galvanized tin for height. School paraphernalia sells well to VMI men and women, so as a third-generation VMI cadet, we have plenty of VMI items to use. Color-coordinated plates and napkins complete the tablescape.
I even color-coordinated myice chests in the back of the vans. I covered the back seat with another red sheet and taped a VMI felt pennant to it. Then I placed three red coolers and red cups in the back well–these held ice, drinks and our food.
I decorated the table with yellow cardboard musical notes, purchased at the teacher’s store in town–they are sold inexpensively with bulletin board decorations and can be reused over and over again if you save them carefully. I rolled pieces of masking tape on the back of each piece to adhere it to the cloth. It can be rather windy on fall afternoons and you don’t want to loose your decorations.
I borrowed a snare drum and clarinet from a friend and used my other son’s trumpet to use for my musical centerpiece. I tucked in silk sunflowers for color and cheeriness and to tie in with the two tall galvanized tins of tall sunflowers on each end of the centerpiece. Silk flowers were my choice, because the heat at a tailgate in September and October in Virginia can be brutal–I didn’t want droopy flowers. To complete the musical theme, I used a foam core board for the background of a yellow and red-covered sign with a message made on my home computer and printer.
So figure out what kind of props you will need to decorate a tailgate in honor of your student’s favorite subject or interest, what the school colors are, and how you can theme your gathering. Then set up a colorful and festive tailgate for your family and friends and enjoy a fabulous fall tradition of food and football!