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Trends: The tailgate party

Trends: The tailgate party

Ever heard of "tailgating"? This festive practice, which continues to grow in popularity, is all about partying with your friends – out of the back of your vehicle. Well, just about.

The idea is simple: you meet your friends in the parking lot of the stadium at least an hour before kickoff. (Of course, you can always organize a tailgate party at other public places such as your favourite park, or outside a festival, show, hockey game or other event). Plan on plenty of food and drinks to get everyone in the party spirit. If you're unsure how to go about it, read on.

Game plan in 10 easy steps

  1. Choose an event and send out invitations well in advance so that everyone can get their tickets.
  2. Bring a vehicle with plenty of cargo space in the rear for transporting and setting up everything required. Think SUV, pickup truck or van, even if you have to borrow one from a friend.
  3. A few days before the event, plan your menu (there are plenty of ideas in our recipes section ), buy your groceries and begin your preparations.
  4. If necessary, delegate some preparations to friends in the spirit of a good old-fashioned potluck. Ideally, everything should be finger food: nuggets, bite-size snacks, burgers, chicken mini-pizzas, etc.
  5. The night before the event, refrigerate anything that needs to be kept cold. Freeze some water bottles to use as ice packs the next day.
  6. Bring along some hot drinks (cider, hot chocolate, coffee) to warm up your group.
  7. Check the weather forecast and pack some umbrellas, if needed.
  8. The night before, prepare everything that will be served cold: salads, dips, etc.
  9. Arrive at least an hour before your guests so you can set up. Your friends should be invited at least an hour before the doors open.
  10. Allow time to pick up everything and put it away before the game, otherwise you could end up missing the opening kickoff!

What to bring

  • A folding table to serve food, unless you plan on using the cargo hold of your SUV.
  • A portable barbecue with utensils. It can use charcoal or propane (for those on a budget, models such as this and this can be found at Canadian Tire.)
  • Preferably, 2 coolers; one for hot food, the other for cold food.
  • Folding chairs (optional)
  • Rolls of paper towels, unless you prefer to buy napkins sporting your favourite team's logo
  • Utensils and disposable cups
  • A bottle opener
  • Garbage bags
  • Plastic bags and containers for the leftovers
  • Decorations for your vehicle (your team's logo), face paint and team jerseys (optional)

Don't forget …

Before planning anything, it's best to check with the stadium to see if you're allowed to:

  1. cook in the parking lot
  2. serve alcoholic beverages
  3. bring glass bottles (beer, wine)