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    Fall Is Tailgate Party Time

    By Charlotte Gerber     

    A tailgate party is a great way to have fun with friends and families at sporting events. The good news is that you donít have to be going to a NFL game in order to have one of these. Great tailgate parties can occur at your childís weekend soccer games, peewee football, college football or community sporting events. If you have never gone to a tailgate party, here are some simple tips to help get you started.

    If you are attending a large event be sure to let your friends and family know where you are going to be parked. This helps them find you quickly in a crowd. Some tailgaters who have been doing this for a long time put flags, balls or colorful handkerchiefs on their carís antennas to help friends identify their vehicle in a crowded parking lot.

    One of the most needed items at a tailgate party is a grill. There are many types of grills that you can purchase but if youíre just getting started a small propane grill or charcoal grill is the best way to go. These grills can typically be purchased for under $20. The second most needed item is a cooler. For all day events, nothing beats an electric cooler that can be plugged into your carís cigarette lighter. This will help keep your foods cooler longer and you wonít need to deal with your food floating in melted ice water.

    Planning the menu for your tailgate party is the next important step. Depending on the time of day of your party you may opt for a breakfast, brunch or lunch. Early morning foods that can be prepared at a tailgate party include pancakes, sausage, bacon and hash browns. Coffee is always being served at a tailgate party so be sure to purchase a good campsite coffee pot for your tailgate party. Other popular beverages include hot cocoa, flavored coffee mixes, tea and hot cider.

    Menus for a brunch or lunch often include hamburgers, hotdogs, Italian sausage, pork barbeque and brats. Donít forget to parboil your sausages and brats before leaving home, as this will make them cook faster and make them crispier when you grill them. Popular side dishes include green salad, potato salad, macaroni salad and baked beans. Donít underestimate desserts either. Desserts that travel well include no-bake cookies, peanut butter cookies and brownies. Many people even make sheet cakes that celebrate their favorite sports teams but these donít typically travel well in a packed car.

    There are a few more essential items that you need for your tailgate party. Since it is always important to clean up after your party, be sure to pack a few garbage bags to make cleanup a breeze. You will also need to pack plenty of disposable plates, insulated cups, bowls and plastic forks, knives and spoons. Many tailgate planners buy themed food service items such as napkins printed with their favorite teamís mascot. It is also a good idea to pack a few containers with lids for any leftovers you may have after the party. Another item that is often forgotten is a plastic drop cloth. This can come in handy if the event you are attending is expecting rain. A drop cloth can be used to cover a spread of food quickly and protect it until the rain stops- just be careful not to cover any hot grills any other hot crocks or pots with the plastic.

    A few other items that can help you have a successful tailgate party are comfort items for you, the hostess. A comfortable folding chair and a nice throw blanket have kept many people warm and relaxed at their party. Packing an extra sweater, warm hat and an umbrella may also pay off if the weather is uncertain.

    A tailgate party can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Many people make these parties a family affair and they park their vehicles alongside each other creating a tailgate family reunion. If you havenít tailgated before, try a simple one this year. You may have so much fun that you will make it a fall family tradition!

    Written by Charlotte GerberRate this article:

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