Party In The Parking Lot

The Art Of Tailgating

Sarah Grathwohl and G.K. Sharman, Writers
Reading Time: 4 minutes
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For Dan Worstell, there’s nothing like game day at Louisiana State University.

From its location deep in the heart of Cajun country, Tiger tailgating is a cultural experience like none other, and Worstell aims to create a spirit that embodies all that LSU college football has to offer.

But he has a secret weapon – a Nicholson Drive condo, which isn’t just where he drinks beer and parties with friends, it’s the hub for promoting his Geaux Roof brand through t-shirts, banners and beads.

“Regular tailgating is a lot of work,” says Worstell, an Atlas platinum contractor who owns Pyramid Roofing in Virginia and was co-owner of Geaux Roofing in Baton Rouge. “I just roll out of bed, make Bloody Marys, turn the coffee on, and open the front door.

Don’t worry – even if you don’t have a condo in sight of your favorite stadium, you can have a game day as exciting as Worstell’s. All you need is a team to root for and a sense of fun. These tips, tricks and recipes can help you create an experience that will have people talking for years (depending on how much alcohol is consumed).

Tailgate Like A Pro

These days, tailgating is an all-day event, so prepare accordingly. Buying a ticket and showing up to a game is easy, but setting up the location, entertainment and other aspects of pre-game fun can require some coordination.

Before arriving at the site, make a checklist of everything you need. Prepare as much as you can by bringing extra waters and bungee cords for the unexpected. As you plan, check the stadium’s rules and regulations to avoid a tailgate disaster.

Help friends and family members by making your tailgate easier to find. Tying flags or balloons to your car or tent can help people locate you faster and makes describing your location easier.

Proper preparation is crucial – especially for the event known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” that takes place before the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville.

The teams’ rivalry is infamous and tailgating is a serious affair that can last as long as six days.

Every year, Mike Beard sets up his fifth-wheel camper about four days in advance at RV City, his preferred base of operations.

“We usually end up with a group of 50 or more friends, family, and strangers that just show up,” says Beard, co-owner of Superior Roofing and Restoration Inc. in Jacksonville, FL.

Food, Food And More Food

Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

After setting up the tent and getting situated, the next item on the itinerary is to whip up some game-day grub. Beard puts a heavy emphasis on the food and stresses the importance of having both a smoker and a grill for every tailgate.

Worstell, by contrast, prefers to outsource the Cajun cuisine he enjoys on game day.

“I’ve got a friend that’s a big-time Louisiana-style caterer,” he says. “He’s got gumbo and jambalaya, boudin (a Cajun white sausage stuffed with pork, rice, and vegetables) and boudin balls and catfish etouffee.”

Whether you’ve decided to throw some meat on the grill or serve up Grandma’s famous potato salad recipe, remember that the food can make or break the occasion. Here are some suggestions for mouthwatering culinary winners:

And don’t forget to loosen those belts! There is always a chance someone brought dessert.

The Liquid Playbook

Cajun Lemonade

Some people bring colorful alcoholic beverages to the party, while others sip on refreshing nonalcoholic drinks everyone can enjoy.

Whether you plan to remember the game or not, these recipes are ready to rumble:

Always A Reason To Tailgate

Never miss an opportunity to tailgate. No matter what team you’re rooting for or what its win-loss record is for the season, use this time of the year to connect with others and enjoy the day with family and friends. Before you know it, football season will be over and we’ll all be looking for another excuse to have a party.