If you're like most active older adults, you may have made some New Year’s resolutions…
Everyone is looking forward to pigskins flying again, so now is a great time to plan a tailgate to celebrate the return of football! No need to head to the stadium, tailgating at home (aka “homegating”) with friends and neighbors can be just as much fun and much less challenging. So set up the big screen in the garage, bring out the folding chairs, and fire up the grill, it’s time to tailgate!
Like tailgating on the road, there are certain things you will need to make the day a success. First and foremost is the game itself, via a big screen TV preferably set up outdoors but under a roof (in case of rain) like in the garage or a covered porch or patio. Keep in mind that sunlight will make it harder to see the game so aim for a spot that is shadowed. Also consider adding speakers to be sure you can reach the volume necessary for everyone to enjoy the game.
Another important ingredient is a tent or canopy to provide shade for guests and a place out of the sun for food tables. If bugs are a problem, consider one with netting sides that let air in, but keep insects out. Here’s a look at what’s available from Amazon.
Seating is also mandatory, and while many guests will be happy to bring their own, its good to have extras ready. Light-weight options include camp chairs and folding chairs that are easy to set up and move around as needed.
Although not mandatory, a fire pit (wood burning or electric) is a great addition for nighttime games since fall weather can often mean cool nights. If the pit is wood burning, be sure to check local burning restrictions ahead of time.
Tailgating and grilling are inextricably linked so prepare ahead and make sure gas grills have enough fuel, charcoal grillsare adequately supplied with charcoal, and that grilling tools are ready to go.
Food and beverages
Aside from the game and friendly comradery, great food and drink are key to the success of every tailgate. Many like to stay traditional with burgers and brats, while others may want to get a little more exotic. Either way keep it simple and opt for foods that are easy to manage when standing of walking around. Ideas include skewered chicken or beef, chicken wings, tacos, etc.
If guests are bringing a dish to pass, it’s a good idea to create a menu from which they can choose to ensure a balance. There are really great ideas in the following articles:
- “50 Easy Recipes for the Best Tailgate Food Around,” from goodhousekeeping.com.
- “5 Classic Tailgating Menus to Wow Your Crowd,” from allrecipes.com.
- “73 Easy Tailgating Recipes,” from food.com.
- “45 Super Tasty Tailgate Recipes To Make Ahead For Game Day,” from southernliving.com.
If children will be invited, don’t forget to include kid-friendly foods as well, like hot dogs or pigs-in-a-blanket. Pinterest offers a wide range of ideas in “Tailgating with Kids.”
Beverages are also essential, and having a variety will ensure that everyone has something to whet their whistle. Beer is probably the most popular adult drink at tailgates so consider providing craft beers brewed locally or in the state. For a look at what’s available in Ohio, check out justbeerapp.com’s “Ohio Beer Guide.”
For mid-day games Bloody Mary’s are a great and easy-to-make option as well, with many adaptations on the classic recipe. For more unique ideas, the supercall.com article, “The 8 Best Cocktails for Tailgating,” is an excellent resource.
Also be sure to have non-alcoholic options available for kids, teetotalers and designated drivers to ensure everyone stays hydrated and gets home safely. Among the many options are soda, lemonade, ice tea, and water or try a recipe from southernliving.com’s “Non-Alcoholic, Big Batch Drinks for Game Day.”
Fun and games
The spirit of tailgating lends itself nicely to competition so plan to provide yard games that everyone can participate in. The first one most people expect to see is a cornhole or bag toss game and the Cornhole Game Association can help you build your own game and play by the official rules. Games are also easy to find online or in sporting goods stores.
Other games that are great for playing outside include ring toss, lawn darts, Frisbee, and horseshoes. Or check out the list and links from the Spruce in their article, “The 8 Best Tailgate Games.”
Having two or three games available keeps children busy, and let’s adults enjoy the simple fun of playing like a kid again!
At StoneBridge at Winton Woods, we appreciate the power of having fun and look forward to a great football season again. If you would like to find out more about our independent living community and what we have to offer, contact us today!