A Southern Tradition

Christopher Confero - Southern TraditionJust like iced tea, we southerners take our tailgating seriously. 

by Christopher Confero  


Homer Simpson once said, “Behold, the tailgate party. The pinnacle of human achievement. Since the dawn of parking lots, man has sought to fill his gut with food and alcohol in anticipation of watching others exercise.”

In the South, college football is like a religion and many Saturday game day rituals are held sacred. Tailgating is taken seriously in the SEC, where storied rivals’ games are often accompanied by legendary tailgate parties. Hardcore tailgaters have custom RVs, shirts, hats, tents, face paint and a host of secret tailgating recipes. Walking through a tailgate on a college campus can be like strolling through a small town fair where the carnies are replaced with super-fans and the funnel cake are replaced with, well, drinking.

Tailgating can be a memorable experience but in order to make the most of your experience, you need to be prepared for the big day and know exactly what to do. If you’re at the helm of preparing the tailgate, then you might have taken on a bigger responsibility than you know. Seasoned tailgaters always come prepared, so to save you the humility of being a bit green (when we all know the best colors are orange and blue), I’ve compiled a quick list of my three tailgating tips to make sure your party is on point from start to finish:

1. Make sure you give yourself enough time, and I don’t mean just a few hours before kickoff. Prime tailgating real estate is sought out days before the big game. Finding the ideal location for your tailgate might not be the first thing that everyone thinks about, but it can make your party a lot more fun if you can pick a great spot. Look for a grassy area so you’ll have more space to spread out, but remember there are rules to tailgating depending on the area you choose. Just like in the game of football, the rules are there to ensure everyone plays fair. Do some quick research to figure out what you are allowed to do in the location you’ve chosen.



2. This seems like an obvious one, but let’s take a look at what planning ahead for a tailgating party really entails. This is more than just your lounge chair and pom-pom, it’s the necessities of the tailgate. If you’re in charge of cooking, you’ll need to bring the food, the grill and, of course the drinks, but think of everything you’ll be doing when you’re tailgating and make a list of what you’ll need. I always think about the things that I need at home when throwing a party and then bring them along. Remember the utensils, plates, cups, garbage bags, etc. Once you’ve parked and started your tailgate, you probably won’t be able to leave to go pick up anything you might have forgotten.

3. Lastly, when it comes to tearing down your tailgating site, be responsible and take away everything you brought with you. You might be able to find some trashcans nearby, but then again, you might not. It’s important to make sure you have everything with you to properly dispose of all of your trash. If you grill out using a charcoal grill, keep in mind that coals can stay hot for hours and they need to be disposed of properly. Using aluminum pans that you had the food in is a good way to discard the remaining charcoal. You can then use the melted ice in the cooler to pour over the coals if they’re still hot.

Whatever you do, don’t leave trash, food, or garbage lying around when you’re done.


AU vs. UA fun tailgating facts:

University of Alabama: The center of the University of Alabama, as well as the center of its football tailgating scene, is the Quad. Denny Chimes, a statue that overlooks the Quad, contains the handprints of many former Alabama football captains and makes for prime tailgating real estate. The Million Dollar Band plays at Gorgas Library two hours before kickoff. One hour before kickoff, the band and Big Al lead the team into Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff on the Quad, Alabama’s official tailgate party, begins three hours before every home game.

Auburn University: Some popular tailgating spots at Auburn are the Quad, the amphitheater and the library lawn. The Saturday pre-game ritual known as Tiger Walk has become as much a part of Auburn tradition as Toomer’s Corner or the flight of the eagle. Two hours before the kickoff of each Auburn home football game, thousands of Auburn fans line Donahue Drive to cheer on the team as they walk from the Auburn Athletic Complex to Jordan-Hare Stadium joined by the Auburn Marching Band and Aubie, our beloved mascot.

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