Tailgating Family Style

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2011 Biggest Little Tailgate Party

Image by RenoTahoe via Flickr

While tailgating is generally viewed as a party before a sporting event that involves mass amounts of alcohol, grilling meat, and overall rowdy behavior, this is not necessarily the case in all situations. The truth of the matter is the tailgating can be a family friendly excursion under the right circumstances, as football stadiums want to make these events more accessible. Over the years, I have found a few different ways to make a tailgate party a good time for the entire family, so make sure that you are prepared before you head out in order to make this fun for all ages.

The first thing that you will need to do is locate a spot to tailgate that will not contain rowdy fans. Many stadiums now have family friendly tailgate sections, which will allow you to enjoy your time on the grounds without worrying about exposing your children to negative influences. These sections usually do not permit alcohol, making it a very family friendly option for you to discover. In some cases, these locations will provide entertainment for children to enjoy, which takes much of the pressure off of the parents in regards to planning. It is still a good idea to have some entertainment ideas planned, however, just in case everything does not work out with the stadium’s entertainment ideas.

Probably the most important aspect of a tailgate party is the food, so you will want to make sure that you have plenty of food options available for your party. Kids can be difficult to prepare for, but things like hot dogs and hamburgers usually go over well. The good thing about these foods is that adults will eat them too, so you will not have to come up with separate menus. Many stadiums will also have places to purchase food or even provide some free food before the game, so you might have a few different options from which to choose. Grabbing plenty of snacks before the game is also important, since you could be outside for hours. Try using the snack period to get some healthy foods into your kids, such as fruits and vegetables. Just because you are out tailgating does not mean that you have to throw nutritional values out the window.

Make sure that you keep all children hydrated throughout the day, especially if they are being active. Bring bottled water, as it provides more hydration than things like soda and juice. Of course, it is always fun for children to drink soda and juice, so keep these options open as well. Provide plenty of fluids for the children while they are eating, as this might be the only time that you can get them to sit still long enough to take these fluids.

Be absolutely certain that you research the policies regarding the section in which you end up before traveling to an area, as you could be in for a surprise otherwise. While most stadiums outlaw drinking on their property before games, many of these stadiums also do not enforce these rules. These same stadiums, however, will usually have family friendly section set aside for people who want these rules enforced. Look for these family friendly sections before you choose your location and do not assume that just because a stadium appears to discourage drinking onsite, that alcohol will not be present.
A few years back, I took my kids to a tailgate party and assumed that since I was on a dry campus, that no alcohol would be present. I was absolutely shocked when I reached the location and saw a full-blown party occurring before my very eyes. Needless to say, I left immediately and it ruined my tailgate experience for years to come. I have now figured out how these things work, however, so I avoid sections of the party that have not been labeled as family friendly.

Tailgating family style can be a very enjoyable experience because it keeps the family together and allows you to have a day out in the sun. By finding one that is located in a wholesome environment, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and will ensure that everyone in your family has a good time throughout the event.

Joyce Brister is a loving parent and blogger for the My Baby Blog.  Joyce loves writing about situations that parents are often faced with.  She would like for you to take a look at her Baby Bedding or her Arkansas Razorbacks Bar Stools.


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