With fall comes football with football, there is tailgating.
It doesn't matter if you go to your local high school games every week or make a special trip to see your favorite college or pro team take the grid iron. Tailgating and football just go well together.
The weather certainly is a factor. It's great to tailgate when air gets a little crisp. People put on their sweatshirts with their team's logo and huddle around a portable grills, drinking a cold beer (if your at a college or pro game anyway), a steaming cup of coffee or thermos of hot apple cider if it is cold enough outside, and mix and mingle with fellow fans.
I've tailgated baseball games, soccer games and concerts, all of which have the look and feel of a tailgate, but football games that is tailgating.
It only gets better with some good food and friends.
Firing up a portable grill is a plus. Grill some hot dogs or better yet, a couple of bratwursts or sausages and kill a little before kick-off. Some people consider a "portable" grill to be one that has it's pulled by a truck and has it's own license plate. Hey, whatever works. Ones that fit in the trunk work too.
It's not only a time to get some food in your belly before walking inside a stadium. It's as much, if not more so, a social event as any. After all, once inside, it can be a little harder to start up a conversation with the fellows around you when your watching the game.
Walking around the parking lot gives fans the chance to show off what they have in common when it comes to their teams spirit and maybe even razz those who are sporting the wears of that other team, but it all in good fun.
When it comes to setting up your spot for a tailgate party, there are some useful tips out there.
Getting a spot close to the port-a-jon, but not to close is a prime location. It saves you time when the need arises and, brings a lot of people past your tailgate spot what a way to make some friends.
When it comes to setting up a tailgate spot, it a good idea to bring an easy, pop-up canopy. These aren't too expensive and are very handy for a number of occasions, including tailgating.
For one, they help to mark your spot, but also help to keep the sun off you if it's too hot, and keep you dry should the rain clouds make a pregame appearance without putting a damper on the festivities.
Folding chairs are nice to take too. Most of the time tailgating is spent standing, but isn't a good idea to have a place to sit, especially if you ride doesn't have an actual tailgate.
Another suggestion, if plan on putting a portable charcoal grill to work, either take lighter fluid or buy fresh instant light charcoal. Years ago, My buddy Mark and I were tailgating when the party next to us requested our lighter fluid just for this simple reason. When you've got food that needs to be cooked, having a working medium to cook it is necessary. If you are using a portable propane grill, having an extra cylinder might not be a bad idea.
If cooking isn't your thing, then pick-up a bucket of chicken or take some sandwiches with you, or pay for overpriced food in the stadium. I don't normally buy food inside a stadium with the exception of high school games when boosters, band parents and football moms are trying to make a little money for the team.
I also try to keep my tailgating experiences simple. I've seen fans bring generators along to power up all the toys. Unless your tailgating experience is a three day event or it's 20 degrees outside and that generator is powering a turbo heater, I don't see the need for it. Rolling down the windows of a car and turning on the radio is also I need, but to each his own.