As football season kicked off last weekend for Colleges across the country and the NFL, my mind naturally turns to tailgating. For me that is the best part of attending a football game. In fact, some of my fondest memories from college are of tailgates with my family and friends. The Google definition of tailgating is to host or attend a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium. At Purdue University, my alma mater, tailgating before a football game was an event. I was an expert at this before I even got to college as my family has been long time Purdue supporters and tailgaters. The parking lot behind Ross-Ade Stadium was where we would eat peanuts mixed with candy corn, cold fried chicken and sometimes hot chili. My grandfather would walk the aisles trying to sell or buy tickets to the game depending on our family’s attendance that week.
While my family certainly has our own tailgating traditions, here are some of the best from college football stadiums across the country:
Texas A & M – In College Park, Texas the tradition is to arrive well before the game, the night before in fact. At midnight before a home football game Kyle Field is filled with 40,000 plus fans for the midnight yell. A cheer practice of sorts before the big game!
University of South Carolina – Before a Gamecocks Game in Columbia, SC you can rent out railroad cars less than 50 yards from the stadium for your tailgate. Each car is decked out with a flat-screen television and full kitchen. This is where tailgating dreams come true!
University of California Berkeley- Just east of California Memorial Stadium is a small hill where fans for football climb for a free view of the game. Climbing charter hill has become a standing game day tradition and a great way to enjoy tailgate snacks throughout the game.
Of course food and drink are a big part of tailgating and what is served varies from region to region. Check out our recipe box for some great tailgating foods like Chicken Wings with La Boite Ayala Spiced Aioli or Ricks Picks Phat Beets Happy Appy.
What are your favorite tailgating traditions and eats?