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Take Your Tailgating Skills to the Next Level With These Tips

Football season is in full force.

That means tailgaters from around the Magnolia State are gathering each week to cheer on their favorite team with friends and family, mouthwatering food, ice-cold drinks, opened hatchbacks, and lowered truck tailgates.

Here are a few tailgate tips for those of you cheering your team on from the sidelines while grilling, drinking, and chilling.

So gather your parking-lot posse, load up a table with tasty tailgate treats, and get ready for the ultimate pregame party that’s packed with as much action as the football game itself.


Once you’ve selected the game and stadium, you’ll need invites. You can send them via text message, email, morse code, snail mail, or however you communicate with your tailgating team, just be sure to send invitations early.

Be sure to include arrival times, food and drink responsibilities, and how to find each other. Tie a big, brightly colored helium balloon or post a sports team flag to your trunk or table so your friends and family can actually see it. Text your guests a photo so they know where to look. You could also drop a pin of your exact location from your cell phone, or meet everyone at the entrance and walk to the spot together. Just be sure to communicate with fellow tailgaters early and often.


Don’t forget about your tailgate attire and vehicle and table décor. Wear those team colors, don that jersey, and dig the foam No. 1 finger out of storage. It’s time to become unapologetically full of team spirit.


As soon as you arrive to set up, fire up the grill. Charcoal can take a while to both heat up and cool down. You’ll need time to grill, eat and cool down before the game begins. Be sure to eat at least an hour or two before kickoff to ensure plenty of time to eat and clean up without missing any football fun.


No one wants an endless table of chips and salsa so delegate food and drink responsibilities. This will ensure there’s plenty to eat with an array of delicious food and ice cold drinks. If you are expecting a large number of guests, a potluck is a great option. A potluck will not only prevent you from having to supply endless cases of drinks and an entire spread of food, but it will also allow guests the opportunity to bring their favorite tailgating beverages and snacks.

BYOG (bring your own games)

There’s just something about king-size classic family games that makes them way more fun to play. And tailgate parties are the perfect place to showcase asphalt-approved activities that get the crowd cheering before they even enter the stadium. So get out that giant Jenga or super-sized checkerboard and have some big-time fun before the game.


Make sure you leave the space the way you found it. Several stadiums have waste and recycle bins set up for tailgaters, but not all. If the stadium does not have bins, it’s your responsibility to pack up all of your garbage and recycling and put it into your trunks or hatchbacks before heading to your seats. If you don’t clean up you could be looking at a hefty fine. And don’t forget to bring trash bags.


Most importantly, have fun with your friends and family and enjoy the game. Make memories, bring a camera to capture every moment, and have a great time enjoying Mississippi football.


Written by Cherie Ward

Cherie Ward is an award-winning Mississippi Gulf Coast journalist with decades of experience in writing and photography. She lives in Ocean Springs with her husband and has two adult children who also live on the Coast.

Connect with her by email at [email protected] with story ideas or find her @cherieward on Instagram. She would love to hear from you.


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