College football Texas Tech and US Naval Academy - Photo by USNA
College football Texas Tech and US Naval Academy – Photo by USNA

One of the best parts about heading to your alma mater for the big game is the tailgate party beforehand. Arriving early to hang out in the parking lot with others who support your team, eating good food and enjoying a few cold drinks is the best way to get the game day spirit revved up. These are a few tips that can help make your tailgate party the best one yet.

Stock a Toolbox with Essentials

One ingenious tip is to store all your tailgate needs in a clean, unused toolbox. In the main compartment, store spatulas, bottle openers, wooden skewers, basting brushes and small flashlights. In the middle compartment, store trash bags, paper towels, antibacterial wipes, sunscreen, ponchos and masking tape. In the bottom drawer, store condiments, spices and seasonings. By keeping things stored in a tool box, you can grab and load it quickly on the morning of the game.

Do as Much Prep as Possible the Night Before

You should skewer and marinate kabobs, as well as shape and pack hamburger patties and separate with wax paper. Slice and pack burger toppings and store in disposable metal pans with lids. Freeze water bottles for the coolers to keep things cold even if the ice melts. Pack a cardboard six-pack carrier to use for holding condiments. Make a mini first-aid kit using an old prescription bottle or mint tin. It should include bandages, ointment and alcohol wipes for minor cuts or scrapes. Throw in extra utensils in case something breaks or is missing when you arrive. Pack a large plastic tub to transport dirty dishes that cannot be thrown away.

At the Game

If you are cooking with charcoal, pay attention to the way the wind is blowing when you position the grill. Be sure to bring extra charcoal if it is windy as the breeze will make charcoal burn faster. Hang paper towel rolls from bungee cords from your pop-up tent struts. Pack items in plastic drawers typically used for storage so you can have everything handy while cooking. If you don’t want to bring a cooler, get a case of your favorite drinks, empty it and line it with trash bags. Replace the drinks and add ice. If serving chili or other type of soup, consider using bread bowls rather than paper to reduce waste. Use clean, opened cans painted with school colors to hold silverware. Hand out beads, temporary tattoos or other team-logo items for some added fun.

These tips will help your tailgate party at the next big game be a huge success. Don’t forget to support your alma mater with Peter Millar’s collegiate line or other apparel to support your team!