Football Tailgate: Traditions, Tips, Foods and Games

Camping · Tailgate Party ·
Football Tailgate: Traditions, Tips, Foods and Games

Tailgating is a pregame celebration during the football season. If you're hosting or attending this type of event, this tailgate at the football games guide reveals the history, traditions, tips, and other important facts when tailgating.

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Over the years, tailgating has evolved from a simple pregame gathering at the football events to an important part of the sports and entertainment experience. Tailgating traces its roots in American football, like the football events, and has become a form of enjoyment. Fans generally arrive at the stadium early and bring snacks (or drinks) to share with fellow sports enthusiasts.

If you're looking to throw the football events tailgating party, this ultimate guide is all you'll need. Here, we will walk you through the history and culture of tailgating at the football events, along with preparation tips, foods, games, entertainment, etiquette, and regulations. In addition, you'll learn how to power appliances when you tailgate at the football games.

History of Tailgating at Football Games

The history of tailgating at the football games in America tends to trace its roots back to the Civil War. During the summer of 1861, the locals packed a picnic not to watch a game of catch but to watch the First Battle of Bull Run. The first tailgate party occurred in New Jersey in a football game in 1869.

In the late 19th century, horse-drawn carriages arrived early at college football to view the game and picnic together. They would set up picnics on dry roads or grassy areas. In modern times, these tailgate games have evolved drastically and often include extravagant setups with grills, tents, TV broadcasting, and other games.

While tailgating is not allowed at the football games as the event is held at a stadium and not in a parking lot, there are some designated areas around the stadium where anyone can tailgate before the game. Some of America's football games traditions include beer, wings, and shopping.

The Culture of Tailgating

Tailgate parties (or tailgating) are one of the traditions Americans love. The tailgate culture includes drinking, eating, and attending a huge entertainment event. At these parties, attendees of the football game events arrive early and party in the parking lot. These typically occur a few hours before the game and involve grilling food and drinking alcoholic beverages. Fans from all over the US come together to revel in their team spirit and even create lasting memories through tailgating.

culture of tailgating

Preparation and Tips for Tailgating

Tailgating is about delicious food, enjoying good company, and celebrating your favorite team. It's essential to prepare yourself with the necessary supplies for a successful tailgate party. Here are some football tailgate tips to prepare for the party.

Select the Right Spot: First, you must decide the right spot for football events tailgating. You can look for a campsite near the football games stadium or a local park for tailgating. This is one of the best ways to enjoy the game-day excitement while surrounded by nature.

What to Bring: While tailgating, you'll need to carry all the essential items that you might need to the tailgate area. For example, a few warm towels, a canopy tent, plates, a lighter, a bottle opener, a cooler, cups, electric grills, TVs, microwaves, cooking stoves, heating/cooling appliances, Jackery Solar Generators, and chairs for a comfortable party.

super bowl tailgate essentials

Safety Considerations: Tailgating season undoubtedly brings a lot of fun. However, you'll need to keep a few safety tips in mind. For example, you must keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher on hand. In addition, avoid gathering crowds and invite guests that you can safely handle.

Popular Tailgating Foods and Recipes

Tailgating is incomplete without delicious food. But what kind of tailgate foods can you bring to the parking lot? Here are a few classic and popular football game foods you should try.

Italian Sandwich: The sturdy Italian bread is layered with meats, veggies, and cheeses, making this sandwich a perfect lunch idea or even a tailgate snack.

  • To make the Italian dressing, just combine olive oil, parmesan, garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, and vinegar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Then, cut the loaf of bread lengthwise so you can open the loaf like a book.
  • Hollow out about 1 inch of the bread and spread mayonnaise on the cut side.
  • Arrange the salami slices in even layers and then repeat with capicola, mortadella, provolone, and pepperoni.
  • Add the toppings and carefully fold the top part of the bread on the top of the veggies.
tailgating foods and recipes

Football Cookies: They're the perfect sweet snack for game day and can be served as football events desserts. Here's the tailgate recipe:

  • Start by preheating the cooking oven to 350° and beating the butter and sugar in the bowl until it becomes light and fluffy.
  • Now, whisk the flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Keep the mixer on medium-low and add the flour mixture until mixed. Make sure to stir in pecans and beat until the dough clumps together.
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, followed by dividing the dough into one-and-a-half tablespoon balls. Press these footballs onto the baking sheet so the bottom side becomes flattened.
  • Lastly, bake the cookies until the dough is set, and then transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack. If you wish to decorate the cookies, consider whisking together the powdered sugar and two tablespoons of water in a small bowl to form the icing.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks: The crispy, melty mozzarella sticks are a popular tailgate recipe, especially during tailgate season.

  • First, cut the cheese sticks in half, crosswise, and keep it aside. Start whisking together the eggs and water in a small bowl.
  • Take another bowl and combine panko, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and paprika. In the third bowl, combine the salt, flour, and pepper.
  • Now, dip each cheese stick into the eggs and then dredge in the flour mixture, followed by dipping in eggs. Dredge the breadcrumb mixture, press the coat well, and freeze it well for 30 minutes. Repeat the step and freeze for 30 minutes again.
  • Preheat the air fryer to about 390° and spray the cooking spray. Keep coating the frozen sticks and cook them for 6-7 minutes until they become brown and crispy.

Some of the other hearty, delicious, and easy-to-eat dishes perfect for tailgate parties at the football events include buffalo chicken wings, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, chili, nachos, macaroni and cheese, sausage and peppers, popcorn, chips and dips, pulled pork sandwiches, and cookies.

Games and Entertainment at Tailgate Parties

If you are wondering how to keep your tailgate guests entertained between cold beers and hot dogs, here are a few football game entertainment tips to try.

Cornhole: At your tailgate party, set up a cornhole game with bean bags and two boards. It's a classic tailgate game where guests toss the bean bags and aim to land them in the holes for points.

Tailgate Trivia: You can prepare a list of sports-related trivia questions, divide the guests into different teams, and then host a tailgate trivia contest. If you want to make the game more exciting, offer small prices for all the successful throws.

Music & Karaoke: Consider bringing a portable Bluetooth speaker and creating a playlist with everyone's favorite songs. To add fun, encourage the guests to have karaoke sessions and host a musical tailgate party.

Football Toss Challenge: You can even create a football toss challenge with a target set up at different distances. Guests can play this tailgate game by aiming to hit the target and score points.

Tailgating Etiquette and Regulations

Tailgating is the time when you spend the weekends cheering for your favorite team and enjoying the company of your friends. Here are some tailgating etiquette and football game regulations you must follow for a successful party.

  • A good host should always keep first aid handy with appropriate items for treating scrapes or bruises.  
  • When it's time to pack everything and head to the gaming, make sure to clean the place. Make sure the garbage and leftover food is cleaned so it won't attract scavengers.
  • Be respectful while cheering for your team. Instead of purposely disrupting things, show support by wearing team flags as well as foam fingers.
  • While playing games, make sure you're respectful of the others tailgating in your vicinity.
  • If grilling is part of the tailgate setup, you'll need to check the area's local fire codes and restrictions.
  • Sometimes, tailgating parties may require permits, especially if they block street or parking lot sections.

Tailgating at the football ganme is expected to adhere to strict rules and regulations. This means rowdy behavior, excessively loud music, and other activities that might disrupt the peace can lead to penalties.

Impact of Tailgating on Local Economy

Tailgating can directly contribute to the local economy of the hosting city and can attract more visitors, thereby creating jobs and stimulating economic growth. Strategic partnerships with beverages, food, games, and gear can increase the profits of the parking lot and positively impact the host city.

Jackery Solar Generators for Tailgating at Football Games

Whether you want to charge Bluetooth speakers and lights for entertainment and games or electric grills and microwaves to cook delicious tailgate foods, all you need is a reliable and powerful Jackery Solar Generator. It combines Jackery Explorer Portable Power Station and Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels to collect, convert, and supply electricity to tailgate appliances. They have multiple output ports, supporting the charging of many appliances simultaneously. Here are some top choices for charging tailgating appliances at the football events.

Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus 

The larger and expandable Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus has a battery capacity of 2042.8Wh that can be expanded to 24kWh. Its intuitive suitcase design with double wheels and a foldable handle makes it easy to transport the power station anywhere for outdoor adventures. If you're looking for a solar generator that can power high-end appliances like full-size refrigerators, electric grills, and cooking stoves, the Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus might be the perfect solution.

jackery solar generator 2000 plus






AC Output (×4) 120V~ 60Hz, 20A Maximum

AC Output (×1) 120V~ 60Hz, 25A Maximum

USB-A Output (x2): Quick Charge 3.0, 18W Maximum

USB-C Output (x2): 100W Maximum, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A)

4000 cycles to 70%+ capacity

Portable electric grill (1500W): 1.1H

Cooker Maker (800W): 2.1H

Speaker (100W): 17.3H

Phone (5W): 347H

Fridge (400W): 4.3H

TV (60W): 28.9H

Camera (20W): 86.8H

Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Plus 

The Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Plus is a compact and reliable charging solution that can be expanded from 1.2kWh to 5kWh. The Jackery Explorer 1000 Plus Portable Power Station supports charging 99% of tailgating appliances. You can not only charge smaller appliances like smartphones but also power larger ones such as blenders, mini-fridges, and coffee machines. Its LiFePO4 battery has a long life cycle, so you can enjoy solar electricity for years.

jackery solar generator 1000 plus






AC Output (x3): 120V~60Hz, 2000W (4000W Peak)

USB-A Output (x2): 18W Max, 5-5V⎓3A

USB-C Output (x2): 100W Maximum, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A)

4000 cycles to 70%+ capacity

Cooker Maker (800W): 1,3H

Speaker (100W): 10.7H

Phone (5W): 214H

Fridge (400W): 2.6H

TV (60W): 17.9H

Camera (20W): 53.7H

Jackery Solar Generator 500

Compared to the expandable Jackery Solar Generator 1000 Plus and Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus, the Jackery Solar Generator 500 features a small battery of 518Wh. It's perfect for charging small appliances like Bluetooth speakers, cameras, portable fans, phones, etc. The lightweight Jackery Solar Generator 500 can be carried anywhere for outdoor excursions, making charging appliances easy.

jackery solar generator 500






AC Output (x1): 110V, 60Hz, 500W (1000W Peak)

DC Output (x2): 12V⎓7A

USB-A Output (x3): 5V⎓2.4A

500 cycles to 80%+ capacity

Speaker (100W): 4.4H

Phone (5W): 88H

Fridge (400W): 1.1H

TV (60W): 7.3H

Camera (20W): 22H


Tailgating is one of the most beloved pastimes of Americans and has become an essential part of the game day experience for many fans. This pregame celebration is done in the parking lot using the back of a truck (or any other vehicle). If you're planning to throw a tailgate party at the football games, you'll need to choose the right gear and appliances.

For example, if you plan to cook using electric grills, microwaves, etc., it's vital to choose the Jackery Solar Generators to charge those appliances. The expandable Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus is perfect for powering high-power-consuming cooking appliances and decoration items like lights, Bluetooth speakers, etc.

If you're yet to experience tailgating at the football game, it's time to do so — and don't forget to share your tailgating experiences or plans with us!


How much does it cost to tailgate at a football game?

The cost of parking a standard-size vehicle at most stadiums may range between $25-50, whereas RVs can cost up to $75-100. An average fan might spend nearly $3000 per season for tailgating at football games.