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Best Tailgating Tips for #SEC Football with Giveaway

It’s football season, and in the southern US that means the beginning of the SEC (Southeastern Conference) way of life for many of us. When we refer to football, we don’t mean futbol or soccer, we are referring to the cultural activities that occur on Saturday nights in households and cities around the south.

LSU death valley flickr image by Jason Tinder

This is a time where responsible citizens don facepaint and dress in all manner of fashion, in honor of their local university or favorite team. On college campuses everywhere, families pull in their RV motorhomes, break out the plastic partyware, and parents sit back drinking a cold one, usually with three televisions on silent, each with a different game, while the kids throw NERF footballs in the parking lot until the day’s meal is ready.

I don’t know how tailgating is done at other SEC schools, but here in Louisiana, LSU fans set the standard for tailgating. Now, many of you other schools will leave comments calling me a blasphemer or uninformed. I beg to differ. My husband’s tailgating krewe, Phi Party Jamma, has been gathering for almost 20 years for tailgating at LSU. At each game, there are always a few out of town friends who have come to see just what all this bragging is about. By the time they leave after an LSU home game, they are wearing a look of awe and shock. Many have even dropped to their knees, bowing in respect for having been allowed to experience such an awesome lifetime event. It’s just that good.

Our little Cajun family has season tickets and I’ve been personally going to LSU football games in Death Valley since I was nine years old. I’ve experienced home games and I’ve experienced road trips. I even married a man who asked to cut our honeymoon in Jamiaca short so that we could attend the LSU vs Texas A&M game since it would be the last time those two teams faced off for 20 years. Yes, I did give in and spent the end of the honeymoon in a Motel 6 with strangers (to me) sleeping on the floor of our room.

Here are some tips for tailgating if you decide to take it on the road:

Local Campus Rules: Check out the website of the campus where you plan on tailgating and make sure to read all of their rules. Many campuses do not allow alcohol on campus and some do not even allow tailgating. There may be parking passes required along with specified areas for visiting team fans to park.

Traffic Routes: Major universities work with their campus police and local law enforcement to help traffic flow smoothly before and after games. You may find that many of the routes you want to drive down may be blocked and traffic rerouted. Websites, news channels, and local radio may have the information you need.

Campus Map: Print out a campus map before you leave home. You might rely on a GPS system to help you get around when traveling, but with street closures, you may not be able to use the GPS.

Mobile Phone Carriers: Mobile phone usage increases in capus areas during football games, which may cause a delay in trying to send important messages (like where to meet) or making phone calls. It’s game day and not a day to make any important decisions, so be aware that coverage will be spotty, if at all. Also, many major universities have marketing agreements with certain carriers and if your carrier isn’t part of the agreement, you can go ahead and prepare for NO CELL SERVICE inside of the stadium. (Example: LSU has an agreement with Verizon. I use AT&T. Any data transmission I make from inside Tiger Stadium WILL BE blocked.)

Pack Everything: Pretend like you are preparing for the apocolypse or extended camping trip and pack all the necessities. Once you park, you won’t be able to drive anywhere and most convenient stores in the area are either shut down or have an hour wait to get in. Many of my friends who tailgate from their vehicles even pack a portable potty and place a tent over it. Food, drinks, grill, trashbags, utinsels, everything. Pack it. oh, and be respectful by cleaning up your mess afterwards.

Bring Your Own Shade: Even though the weather is starting to get nicer, you may end up in the middle of a parking lot with no shade. Bring along one of those pop-up covers. You’ll be glad you did.

Hydrate: This is the most important thing you can do. Many tailgaters imbibe in their favorite libations throughout the day. Water intake is important so that you don’t have to be hauled out of the stadium by ambulance right at kickoff.

Have Fun: Sure, there’s some mental competition with everyone rooting for their favorite team, but football is a game and it’s also a way of life here in the southern US. Keep it clean, and keep it fun. Remember – Don’t drink and drive!

Do you have some tips for tailgating during football season? Please leave them in the comments to be entered to win a tailgating prize pack that includes an EZ Grill portable grill, one Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka limited edition flask, two Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka drink coozies, and a Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka t-shirt.

One comment per email address. Former contributors of TravelingMamas.com not eligible to enter. Winner must be at least 21 years old and live in North America (I’m paying shipping costs), and must claim prize within 3 days of being notified that they’ve won. Bonus entries for tweeting and liking on Facebook (leave a comment for each way to count). Comments will be rescued from spam and winner chosen randomly via Random.org. Contest end Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 11:59 pm CST. Winner announced sometime the next day. Prize provided by EZ Grill and Firefly Vodka.

tailgating giveaway winning commentWinner Update: Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to comment #4, Susitravl, who was randomly chosen for this tailgating prize pack. Have a safe football season and remember, don’t drink and drive.

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  1. Make sure that you bring lots of extra food because you will have plenty of hungry folks stop in to visit!

  2. I make everything ahead of time, except the meat that we grill, so all I have to do is pull it out of the coolers and serve.

  3. Always take extra ice and take more food and drinks than you think you will need. It’s always fun to make new friends while tailgating! Take rain jackets and a portable radio or ipod with speakers!

  4. My tip for tailgating is to make hot wings and store them in those containers (the ones that pizza is delivered in) so they retain their temperature. I love those hot and cold delivery packs. You can also make up your cold food and keep them in there until you are ready to tailgate!

  5. This makes me so sad I’m in California and not in my home stadium (Neyland at the University of Tennessee). Does it count if my tip is for post-tailgating? I used to stock up on mini-bottles at the liquor store before every game and, because I’m a girl, I would have multiple hidden pockets in any purse in which to hide them, so even though alcohol isn’t technically allowed in the stadium, I would be able to smuggle them past security checkpoint and add them to my giant Diet Coke and keep the level of happy going all game long (and also ensure I had to make multiple trips to the bathroom, heh). =)

    Does Firefly make mini bottles? =)

  6. Alwyas take extra food and water. Also dont forget digital camera for capturing all thoes great moments..

  7. My best tip is bring plenty of water. No matter what else you bring to drink, nothing replenishes your body like lot of water.

  8. My best tips are to make sure you bring doggie bags and extra clothes…Every tail-gating party I have seen ended up with someone getting a little too tipsy and throwing up!

  9. Prepare everything the night before so you are ready. Make a check list so you don’t forget anything. 🙂 Thank you.

  10. Bring anything in your school colors–Plates, napkins, cups and make cupcakes with school colors or use frosting to decorate with school initials.

  11. Try to go when its cooler weather, kids will be less crankey. Bring plenty of fluids for everyone, and laugh your there to have fun!

  12. I just found this blog today! And yes, I can relate: my husband and I planned our WEDDING based on which weekends were going to be by-weeks for LSU. Not only did we not want to miss the game, but we knew certain family members WOULD NOT attend so they could watch and/or tailgate. Most people just don’t get this. What’s funny is most of the venues were already booked because all the other brides were thinking the same things. As for a tip, my best advice is to befriend someone with an RV – there’s nothing worse than waiting in line to go to a steaming port-a-potty in 90 degree weather. Bring extra libations if you have to win over the RV owner….Geaux Tigers!!!

  13. Whenever we go camping or somewhere like a ballgame we also have kids with me. One thing that is a must to take is a way to be able to wash your face,handsect… I take a large plastic sealable bag and I wet, not soak, a lot of paper towels and add these to the bag with a drop of HypoAllergenticSoap and a small bit of water. You are able to sqush the p.towels around in the bag and use as needed.
    Cool giveaway!!!!! I followed you to!
    Thanks, mimilovesall8@yahoo.com

  14. When tailgating, dress in layers. You might get hot standing around the grill, but you’ll feel chilled around the keg! Thanks for the chance to win the great prize pack!

  15. Freeze lemonade, tea, coke etc. into cubes. So when you are tailgating, you pull them out and add them to the liquor and you have an instant drink.

  16. The dollar store usually has plates and napkins in many colors so you can get your team colors cheap!

  17. Make sure you have a working lighter with you! I have had more than one tailgating experience where no one could light the grill because everyone had forgotten to bring a Bic with them!

  18. Freeze bottled waters and use them to keep your cooler cold. Near the end of the game, they are somewhat melted and provide easy hydration after a day of salty snacks, cheering, and possibly drinks.

  19. I freeze 6 one-gallon containers filled with water (leave ~1″ clear at the top for expansion) and use these in my cooler. These solid blocks of ice will keep your cooler colder than bagged ice, and the bonus is you can use the water as they melt. No food poisoning at the tailgate!!!!

  20. my tip is take an emergency kit, lots of food, water, blankets and dont forget some trash bags.

    waitressdani (at) hotmail (dot) com

  21. Plan ahead and bring LOTS of water and food, some emergency meds (allergies, insect bites, headache etc) and jackets/blankets to keep you warm.

  22. Tailgating takes a game and makes it into an adventure, so tailgate responsibly, enjoy the event and make it safely home! 😉

  23. Always make and take more food than you think you will need. The vendors are hungry too. Who knows? That couple extra ribs and potato salad might get you a tshirt or two. Vendors will trade goods for food. Make your’s smell and look extra tasty to attract those vendors 🙂

  24. Always have sunscreen and extra clothes incase it gets colder, hotter, or your clothes get soaked etc.

  25. Arrive early and always take more of everything than you think you will need…..because you will need it!
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  26. prepare food what stays appetizing. Sometimes you will spend hours making your way to your prepared spot and there is nothing worse than spoiled or mushy food

  27. We have a small portable bbq that we use to warm up foods. I cook food ahead of time then warm it up tailgating. Lots of burger and hot dogs too!

  28. Please Enter Me In Your Best TailgatingTips For SEC Football Giveaway.It Would Be Great To Win The EZ Grill portable grill,
    The Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka limited edition flask, Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka drink coozies, and The Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka t-shirt.
    In Response To Your Question Of What Is My Best TailgatingTip?
    My Answer Is Bring Plenty Of Water,The Proper Clothes For The Weather That Day,Bring Some Snacks, Have FunAnd Cheer On Your Team But Be Respectful To Others And If You Drink ,
    Never Drink And Drive.
    Thanks For Having This Giveaway.

  29. We plan ahead–we usually go with at least 2 other families–we Moms get together and plan the menu ahead of time—one Mom handles the meat each week –one handles sweets–and one handles sides –it makes things so much easier!!

  30. My tip is to go through the day in your head while packing. Sometimes you have to envision yourself eating with a fork and napkin to remember to pack them!

  31. Don’t get too rowdy! I’ve seen so many people fight while tailgating. ha, It’s kind of ridiculous.

  32. Get there early, so you get a prime location .plan according to the wather…if it’s hot-have hot drinks too

  33. Location is key! Go early to get a good spot. Also pack more than you think you will need. It’s better to have too much than not enough! Thanks!!
    kufb50 at gmail dot com

  34. You covered most of the bigger points. But I always make sure to take chairs/seats so I don’t get too tired standing. Also pack in a few of those cheap ponchos in case you get a rain. Thanks.

  35. My tip? Bring a little more food than needed as opposed to less. Leftovers rock; running out early? Not so much.

  36. Be nice to fellow tailgaters, get there early and don’t plan on leaving quickly either! Always have plenty of food because you never know who might stop by!

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