Officially, tailgating is a gathering before a football game or concert — a pre-scrimmage ritual, accompanied by food and drink, where fans warm up for their designated favorite team or band. Put that aside, and it’s really just a good excuse for a party. (In fact, up to 35 percent of tailgaters are there for the festivities only and don’t even attend the event.)
Because the tailgate is tied to an event, it has an inherent, irresistible sense of urgency — a rough-and-ready, here-and-now vibe — whether it goes down in a stadium parking lot or your own backyard. Consider this the official Rebel Yell guide to tailgating.
Food and Drink
You may not be on the field of battle yourself, but should you be called to duty for asphalt matches, you must be properly fortified.
Some people turn parking lot eats into a competition. But the savvy tailgater views tailgating grub in the same way as camping. Think portable, do-ahead, and easy to clean up. A DIY slider bar with bite-size buns and a spread of sliced meats and fixings fills the bill.
No question, you’ll want Rebel Yell on the menu, and you can find three killer suggestions for drinks here.
Fun and Games
Tests of skill are a valuable way to fill the time leading up to the kickoff or opening band. The field is wide open, whether it’s a trivia contest on the headliner or a warm-up karaoke sing-along. Here’s your chance to shine as the über-fan of whatever team you’re cheering on — or, even better, to fail miserably and not give a crap.
What makes the tailgate feel different from any other throwdown is the built-in camaraderie that goes along with a shared interest. You may not know the folks in the truck next to yours, but before long, you’ll be bartering a shot of Rebel Yell for a deviled egg. (Bartering is an essential tailgating rite.)
Ultimately, a tailgate brings people together, and we’re down for any excuse.