Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post brought to you by Ryobi. All opinions are 100% my own.
Who else is ready for crisp weather, football and all things spiced pumpkin?! Me! Me! Me! Watch out my arm might go out of socket because I can’t raise my hand high enough! If it helps, I’ll put my feet up too…..maybe that’s not a great idea seeing how I am about as flexible as a copper pipe….in a slab of concrete….under a glacier. But I would try if it meant Hotlanta turned on the a/c.
This year, my favorite season can’t come soon enough. Even my kids are jumping on board with the idea of swapping out pool time for corn mazes and popsicles for s’mores. But the real star of the show during this season is our favorite fall sport – FOOTBALL! Both Jeremy and I come from families that are big pigskin fans. Even our wedding was done in our favorite college teams colors. I’m not kidding. And it was on the day that our teams played one another. Again…not a joke. And my dad made Jeremy swear allegiance to our families favorite pro team before we said I do’s. That actually happened.
As every football fan knows, the game is the most important part but the tailgate party runs a close second. It’s a time for community, celebration and good ole healthy team spirit! Our boys have been begging to go tailgating but we knew with my due date looming, it wasn’t a good idea to travel too far. If we couldn’t bring the boys to the game, we could bring all things football to the boys. So if you are looking for ways on how to tailgate like a pro (for kids of all ages!) then here are our favorite tips and tricks!
Go Big or Go Home!
When it comes to tailgating, the priorities are good food (and lots of it), getting into the game spirit and being comfortable! Tailgating can be simple and still be big…..or you can have all the bells and whistles! The idea is that you maximize your parking spot and to turn it into a crowd pleasing entertainment area. You want to have it all it all – relaxation, excitement and did I mention the food? Everything has to be transport friendly and last all day long.
Create easy to access serving areas
The tailgate party is defined by the idea of turning your truck’s bed into a big serving area. We did two different versions – a true tailgate and then also using a folding table. The folding table made it possible to keep little ones away from the television (you don’t want that to fall or the channel to change! Both tragedies when watching the game!). No other games on? Watch your favorite football movie or turn on a show for the kids! Either way, the tv is safe and sound by being protected by a big table of food.
Cook the fastest food
Grilling out is part of the tailgating charm. You can bring a folding grill (like this one from Stok) and a variety of meats to please everyone. Remember that you have to pack everything back up before heading into the stadium for the big game so make sure you bring clean up supplies as well. It’s also a good idea to make sure the grill is always away from covered areas and the grill master has a seat for breaks!
Fix food that pleases a crowd
Before we go tailgating, we make a list of food that we know will be easy and will be eaten. Those are the two requirements. Gourmet deviled eggs and fancy cheese fritters are fun….but when you actually have to transport them and allow them to sit in the heat….they might not be your favorite tailgating food. Stick to the crowd-pleasers (both adults and kids have to eat it!) and make any ‘fancy food decorations’ easy. My favorite are plastic football flags or sticks and cute liners as well as football themed plates and cups.
Make a designated area for kids
Kids aren’t great at juggling plates of food and managing tip-friendly folding chairs so I always recommend making a designated spot for them to sit and eat. We made a football themed rug out of a faux grass mat and white duct tape and it was the perfect spot for little ones to enjoy their meal. You can use a blanket, a towel or even a yoga mat….whatever it is – just make sure you can throw it down and it’s not too precious because guaranteed there will be a spill (or seven! ha!).
Bring the necessities (and some splurges too!)
The list of basic tailgate necessities is simple. Here are what I call THE BIG FOUR –
But you can make the big four even better by doing simple things – adding twinkle lights to your tents for night games, add a television for even MORE football, make sure your food is fresh and delicious (think crockpot friendly foods to keep it hot and finger foods that are easy to pop into your mouth), and even chairs in the color of your team make things more fun! We especially love bringing our own yard games too – corn hole, ladder ball and even checkers is a great idea.
Transport with ease
All of the things that you bring, you have to GET THERE. One of my most basic tips is to use the transport bins and coolers as seating or decor. Crates are great for tiering food and for transportation. Just stack them in the back of the car filled with your nonperishable food and paper products. All of the food you see at our tailgate fit into the one cooler, one big orange bowl and four crates (two were to hold crockpots). And that includes the paper products, tablecloths, twinkle lights, extension cords and even the vase of fake flowers. Everything pictured easily fit into the bed of our one pickup truck.
Bring your own power
The real star of our tailgate wasn’t Jeremy’s grilled dogs….although they were tasty. The tailgate MVP award goes to the Ryobi inverter generator. If you think our tailgate was fancy – it was all because of this bad boy. It is roughly the size of a medium cooler and it easily transports on wheels with the handle….but my favorite part is the fact that it powered our twinkle lights, crockpots and television. In the past, you are limited to what you can bring because there isn’t power available. But now your tailgate party can be the envy of every fan at the game.
Be Power Smart
Stay in the know with simple tricks….like make sure your car interior lights are off. You don’t want to drain your battery and be stuck waiting on a jump. Keep your eye on your generator power wirelessly through the Ryobi GenControl app. And make sure to keep your devices charged with the generator too. You don’t want to be on 2% power while taking photos during the game. And you definitely don’t want to miss out on reading your favorite blog (ahem BowerPower ahem) because you camped out all Saturday with no power source.
And if you are wondering if the kids enjoyed their first tailgate….I think LJ’s expression says it all….
The kids loved the idea of eating outside and watching a movie and being with friends….
Even Max got into the spirit and ran around saying “foo-ball” over and over!
And yes, we were laughing because the kids kept giving the moms their empty plates…when the trash can was closer. I’m glad we captured this one because it’s like a typical mom situation 🙂
Also, a tailgate wouldn’t be legit without a party foul….aka me trying to eat anything without dropping food all over the belly.
So that’s our best and finest tips to rock your tailgate game and be the envy of everyone in the parking lot. I’d love to hear what you guys do to make your tailgate party one for the history books! Is it all about the food? Do you make fancy decor? What games do you bring? And what do you do with the kids to get them into the football swing of things? Also – if you are looking for a great gift for your tailgate-loving main squeeze, a generator is especially smart to boost that team spirit!