Who says Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year? If you’re a Southerner, you know that title rightfully belongs to football season!
If you’re like most of us here in Augusta, you’ve probably kept up with your favorite team year-round, pre-bought tickets, and already dug out your faithful team t-shirt, pretended not to see the holes and faded underarms, and wear it every time you get a day off (much to your spouse’s chagrin).
Although there are many passionate fans here in our town, one group rises above the rest when it comes to enthusiasm: the tailgaters.
Faithfully stationed outside the stadium hours before the game starts, the cheering, grilling fans proudly display their team spirit as they prepare to support their team.
If you’re thinking about dusting off the grill and joining in the fun this season, be sure to plan ahead of time for successful, stress-free fun.
- Show up early. Although it may be tempting to show up an hour or two before the game, chances are that you won’t be able to snag a good parking spot and you may end up late to the game because you didn’t give yourself enough time to set up, cook, eat, and clean up. Most diehard tailgaters recommend arriving three to four hours early. It sounds extreme, but it’s the best way to ensure that you and everyone who comes along will have a great time.
- Plan for convenience. Invest in plasticware so that you don’t have to lug home dirty dishes to wash the next day.
- Include diverse foods. Greasy hamburgers and hot dogs are staples at the grill, but consider throwing some produce into the mix so you and your friends are too stuffed to enjoy the game (squash, pineapple, or pepper kabobs are so good they don’t even taste healthy!).
- Bring along games like cornhole, Frisbee, or football. Because sometimes you just have to enjoy playing a sport before watching a sport.
- Don’t let your car get damaged. Glass bottles, cans, and other trash are often strewn around the parking lot after tailgaters leave, which can spell trouble for your tires. It can be easy to miss that debris—especially in the dark—so take a good look around your vehicle before you drive away.
- Take measures to avoid food safety danger. Be sure to cook your meat completely before serving, and place uncooked or unused meat into a labeled cooler until you’re ready to use it. If you handle raw meat, find a place to thoroughly wash your hands before handling other foods.
- Bring along jumper cables. If you’re cranking your favorite jams through your car speakers, you may lose your battery, so make sure you bring along backup.
Tailgating is a fun way to capitalize on all the fun of college sports, and you can find more creative tailgating ideas at atcautocenter.com.
If you follow these tips, your group will be cheering by the time the game starts, and all those fans around you will be jealous of your tailgating expertise. Touchdown!