When tailgating season hits, you’re going to need the perfect plan for your tailgating party. We’ve gotten together a list of the best tips for planning your tailgating adventures, along with some tips on choosing one of the most important tools in your tailgating supplies: the tailgating generator.
Before we talk about the generator, let’s talk about planning your ideal tailgating party.
How to Plan the Perfect Tailgating Party
1. Create a Timeline
Just like any other event, your tailgate party has a timeline. When will guests arrive? When will food need to be prepared? When does the game start?
Think through the various events you’ve got to include in your timeline, then make notes in an easy-to-access app or notebook. Be sure to give yourself some wiggle room on everything, except start time for the game, of course.
Also, don’t forget to get to the parking lot super early. If you arrive too late, you won’t get a spot big enough for your party.
A good timeline might look like:
- Arrive 4 hours before the game
- Set up cooking gear and tables within 30 minutes of arrival
- Food ready to eat by 3 hours until game time
- Games and mingling continue until 1.5 hours before the game starts
- Clean up at 1.5 hours before the game
- Lock up the truck and head into stadium 1 hour before the game starts
2. Plan Your Tailgating Decor
Whether you’re into the over the top decorating with balloons, team colored table cloths, and paper goods with the team logo, or you’re going for a simple but festive motif, you’re going to need a plan for decorating.
Think through your team’s color palette. Do you have any tablecloths, napkins or other paper goods that match? If not, be sure to add these items to your supplies list.
3. Decide on Your Menu
Most tailgating party menus consist of finger foods, desserts, and high carbohydrate snacks. You can keep with the traditional options, like pigs in a blanket, chili, chips and dip, burgers, sandwiches, and hotdogs. Or you can go with some healthier options like lemon drop chicken wings, spinach artichoke dip, twice baked sweet potatoes, and zucchini fries.
4. Pick Your Gadgets and Cooking Tools
Whether you’re grilling or keeping a pot of chili warm, you’ll need some basic tools and gadgets to keep your party going. Any of these things might come in handy on the big day.
- Cooking utensils
- Serving utensils
- Paper goods
- Power source(s)
- Slow cooker
- Electric pressure cooker
- Oven mitts
- Eating utensils
5. Choose Your Power Source
If you’ve decided that you’re going to keep the food warm while the guests start arriving, you’re going to need a power source. One of the best sources of power is a portable generator.
As you shop for a tailgating generator, you’ll need to look for the right wattage. Different wattage will run different types of gadgets and tools. Most consumer generators range from 50 watts, suitable for running something like a DVD player, up to 4700 watts, which would allow you to run a heat pump.
Mid-range portable generators are what you’ll probably need for your tailgating parties. A 1000w portable generator, for example, would easily power the average tailgating party. These small generators can run:
- Entertainment equipment, such as DVD players, radios, and small amplifiers
- Emergency power for your home
- Basic camping trips
- Power tools
An example of one of these 1000w portable generators would be the PowerPro 56101 from Wen.
If your tailgating parties tend to need a bit more power, you could try one of the many Champion portable generators. Their generators give 1,200 to 15,000 watts of power. Unless you’re running a hospital on back-up, you aren’t likely to need anything over about 4,700 watts to run your whole day of tailgating activities, though.
Another option, though not quite as popular, is to turn your car’s cigarette lighter into an outlet. You just need a power inverter. You can buy a converter for “cigarette lighter to outlet” online. Amazon, Wal-Mart, and other similar retailers will carry these gadgets.
6. Plan Your Activities
What party is complete without some interactive time for the guests? Some great tailgating game options that the whole family can enjoy include:
- Ladder Golf
- Washer toss
- Lawn darts
Now, You’re Ready to Party
You’ve got your game plan. You’ve got your supplies list. You’ve made that final run to the store for groceries. You’ve made sure your portable generator is fully powered up. You’re ready for the big game. Let the festivities begin.