You know the fall season is finally here when college football season starts. While we love just about everything about fall; the colors, the weather, the cozy clothing, seasonal drinks, football isn’t exactly at the top of the list. However, we have found a love for attending college football games! Since the college football season has officially kicked-off we are sharing the UofM tailgate party we put together last year!
Let’s be honest, tailgating is one of the best parts when it comes to attending college football games. Every year, during the season, we make it a point to tailgate and this past year we decided to go all out on the decorations.
Tips on Hosting a College Football Tailgate Party
When To Go?
The purpose of tailgating is to have fun, relax, eat some great food and drink a few cocktails before heading into the game. But tailgating is done pretty early and at least 3 to 4 hours before walking to the game. Anything less than 3 hours would feel rushed.
For us, everyone is decked out in Michigan gear so why not deck out your tailgate table too?! U of M colors are blue and maize (yellow) so finding decor to go along with the theme is rather easy. Since the main component of the decor is what kind of table we use, we made sure to focus on covering the actual table first. Every year we bring a 6-foot collapsible table to put all of the food and drinks on so we started with finding a table cloth…blue and white checkered. Next, add all of your colored accessories. Don’t forget the flowers! They are a great, inexpensive way to bring some life to your table.
Tip: Store all of your decorations together in 1 bag or box so it can be easily assembled.
Most of these are Michigan themed, however, Target has the same stuff for just about every team if you click through!
The most important part! Since we are arriving at the game at least 3 to 4 hours early and then watching the game, waiting in traffic after the game, food is important! We usually tailgate with 11 to 12 people every year so we have to bring enough food for everyone before and after the game. In years past, we’ve made a lot of different dishes like burgers, hot dogs, chili &, etc. But this year was definitely the easiest, most satisfying and fed the masses. We did a taco bar!
Everything was prepared the night before so that when we arrived at our tailgating location the next day, it just had to be heated up. We transport everything in aluminum foil containers so they can be easily heated up on the mini gas grill.
Here is our menu:
- Starters: Tortilla Chips, Guacamole, and Salsa
- Sides: Vegetarian Refried Beans and Black Beans & Onions
- Main: Sauteed Peppers & Onions, Braised Shredded Pork, Corn & Flour Tortilla Shells
- Toppings: Lettuce, Pickled Onions, Pickled Jalapenos, Pico de Gallo, and Cheese
- Dessert: Brownies
- After the Game: Pork Sandwiches. Consists of the leftover braised, shredded pork, pickled vegetables, BBQ sauce, and buns
Leftover, shredded pork is great for pork sandwiches after the game. They are quick, can be consumed cold and the only additional items that need to be purchased are buns and BBQ sauce. Use the pickled vegetables for toppings on the sandwiches too.
Tip: This specific taco bar fed all of the meat-eaters but was also plant-based as well. For plant-based, we had corn tortillas with sauteed peppers & onions, vegetarian refried beans, black beans & onions, all the toppings and lots of guacamole!
Don’t forget drinks! Since most games are earlier in the day. We love to start the day by drinking mimosas. Everyone else drinks beer. Water too, lots of water! After the game, everyone is so dehydrated from drinking all day and stopping before heading into the game (almost all college games do NOT sell alcohol inside) so bring lots of water to consume on the way home.
Although standing around and chatting with everyone is fun, bringing games is a must. Getting into the competitive spirit before heading into the game is so much fun. Grab a football to throw around, bring your corn hole (bags) set, or bring enough cups and ping pong balls for beer pong. Any of these choices are easy to bring and don’t require a ton of set up.
Odds and Ends
Packing the odds and ends is always hardest, so be sure to have a checklist or things will be forgotten. Here are some additional items to NOT forget:
- Trash Bags
- Ice for coolers of food & beer
- Anti-bacterial wipes for your hands
- Paper towel & napkins
- Toilet paper just in case a port-a-potty runs out
- Additional serving bowls
- A few additional aluminum foil container
Tailgating is so much fun! It can be stylish, cute and you can serve delicious food! Cheers!
Do you tailgate at any college football games?