The Art of the Tailgate

Whether you are heading to one of Orlando’s famous college football bowl games, a magic game, concert or our newest favorite, an Orlando City Soccer match, each event must start with a high quality tailgate. Some of you may be asking yourself what tailgating is and how you do it.  Let this article be your guide to setting up your own first-class tailgate.

“Tailgating” is the colloquial term given to the eating, drinking and social activities that take place outdoors before a sporting or music event. The idea of the tailgate is to arrive at an event venue a couple hours early (or many hours early, depending on the event) and set up a party-like atmosphere in the parking lot of the venue, often times using the tailgate of a pickup truck as a table for food and beverages that are enjoyed during this time. Tailgating can include anything from beer and hotdogs to martinis and foie gras.

My tailgate essentials are listed below and should at least be a good start to get your own tailgate going:

  • A Truck: A pickup truck or SUV is a great tool when tailgating. A pickup truck or SUV gives you enough storage area to fit all the tools and supplies you will need for your tailgate and can provide a nice outdoor area to set things up.

  • Foldup table: You want something light but also big enough to hold all the supplies you have when outside, and those supplies are numerous so get something sturdy as well.

  • Folding chairs: So you can kick back with beer in hand.

  • Canopy Tent: A nice popup canopy tent will provide all the shade and protection from the Florida sun that you will need, keeping your guest and food happy and cool.

  • Food: This is probably the most important part of the tailgate. You set your own menu and make it as fancy as you want. I think Publix Grocery fried chicken is a necessity, as well as some pimento cheese. I personally like to get all my food for the tailgate prepared the night before or buy prepared food the day of the event. It’s tailgating, you don’t want to spend a ton of time grilling burgers, that time should be spent drinking beer with friends!

  • Plates, napkins, utensils, cups: Keep it classy, nobody want's your dirty hands in the community offerings!

  • Cooler with lot of ice and beverages: A nice cooler with ice and drinks is needed. Lite beers are good choices for hot days, water to stay hydrated, cocktail supplies to get fancy, or sweet tea or lemonade to cool down.

  • Games: Cornhole, ladder golf, beer pong, and a football are all tailgate classics. This keeps the tailgate lively and makes sure to attract some fun random guests. 

While the gear and supplies listed above are just the bare  minimum, they provide a great start to the things you need for a good tailgate. Be on the lookout soon for Get Local hosted tailgate parties at Orlando City Soccer Matches this season!