Go Long: A Beginner’s Guide to Tailgating
School in full swing, cooler temperatures, and pumpkin-flavored everything – it can only mean one thing: it’s football season, and by default, tailgating season. With grills all over Southlake firing up, and more and more people staking out parking spots at Dragon Stadium before the game, tailgating is becoming a lifestyle. Here are some pointers from former Emerald Belle and Southlake Style intern, Amber Cline, to help you kick off the season with an outdoor celebration worth cheering for.
PLAY BY THE RULES
Before getting the party started, it’s important to plan. Know the rules of the stadium. For instance, at Dragon Stadium, no alcohol is permitted and you’re required to take everything home that you brought with you (including trash!). Be sure to keep checking the weather – will a tent be necessary? Should you bring a jacket?
PREPARE LIKE AN ALL-STAR
Next, prep everything you can before actually arriving at the stadium. Make a list of everything you’re bringing, including easily forgotten essentials like zip lock bags, sharpies, condiments, tongs and hand sanitizer. Marinate the meat the night before so all you have to do is throw it on the grill. Pack the coolers with the stuff you’ll need first on top, and use frozen water bottles instead of ice packs so you’ll have cold water to drink when they melt. Plan to be at the stadium at least three hours before the game so there’s time to set up, eat, relax and pack up.
DRESS LIKE A WINNER
First of all, ladies, heels are a no-no. The enemy of stilettos is grass and the last thing you want to happen is to constantly sink into the ground. Keep it casual with sneakers, comfortable flip-flops or flat boots later in the season. In Texas, you never know what you’re going to get when it comes to the weather, so layering is your friend – a poncho or cardigan could save the day. And last, but not least, green out! It seems like a no brainer, but be sure to take every opportunity to remind people who’s going to win, using everything from green hats and scarves to green food and decorations.
FOOD FANS LOVE
Now for the main attraction: the game-day grub. The go- to foods are definitely burgers and hot dogs, but you can also get creative with other options. For example, a chicken sandwich or a veggie burger could ensure everyone gets something they like. Keep it simple with finger foods like fruit and veggie kabobs that both adults and children will love (the less disposable cups, plates, and utensils to clean up, the better).
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Tailgating is as easy as ever with new apps and sites to help you out. For example, the website ourtailgate.com allows you to make an event, invite guests and keep track of who’s bringing what. For day-of inspiration, the app “Tailgate Fan” has great recipes to shake things up and even allows you to connect with other tailgaters in the area using photo and video. “Tailgating Recipes” also is stocked full of fun recipes like “Quarterback Quesadillas” and “Kick-Off Kabobs.” Use your phone’s “Notes” app to keep track of inventory and the “Clock” app to set timers on meats.
With these easy tips to keep in mind, your tailgate won’t get sidelined this fall. So get planning, invite your friends and fire up that grill. We’ll see you at Dragon Stadium on September 11 for the first official home game of the year!