The Parking Spot
Game Day Game Plan
Once upon a tailgate
Fan Fare
Equipment and tips
The Football
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My personal experience with tailgating has been a life long relationship.  Tailgating and college football have always been an important part of my fall.  For me the game has always been the focal point.  Tailgating is fun but it is ultimately just an adjunct.  The fare served should be appropriate for the season and the activity.  Timing is key.  Be sure to begin “breaking down” the tailgate early enough so you don’t miss the game!  In this age of heightened security be cognizant of the fact that you will need extra time to get into the stadium.  If you can try to eliminate “carry-ins”.   This will allow you to pass through the gates more quickly.  Also most stadiums have enacted no re-entry policies.  This has changed the culture of tailgating.   There’s no halftime trip to the site.  I've also found that people are more likely to stay for the entire game, because they know that they won’t be able to get back into the stadium.

Tailgate essentials
It’s easy to remember to bring the food and the tables, but there are a few items which are not exactly intuitive, but you suddenly find yourself going from one neighboring tailgate to the next asking if they have an (any) extra...

Can opener
Bottle opener
Cork screw
Sharp knife
Tooth picks
Tablecloth clips
Ice (cooler ice and drink ice)
Flash light

Essentials for the bar:
Shaker & strainer
Moderately appropriate glassware

Chairs, canopies, tables...

Sunscreen in a must – no matter the temperature – even if it’s hazy you can get a nasty sun burn.  In the east stands we get sun the entire game.  I got my first sunburn at Beaver Stadium and my worst as well.

Never rely on the forecast – you can go from a dewy morning to a hot afternoon and a chilly evening so you have to be prepared.

Raingear – poncho – there’s the $5 poncho which is basically a logo stamped garbage bag; the $15 poncho which is usually a logo stamped shower curtain.  The poncho is handy for light rain and to block wind.  But if it’s really pouring, proper rain gear (plastic pajamas) is the best.  It’s unquestionably dorky and unflattering but the best.

Hat – baseball cap is good for keeping sun off head and face.  Remember dark colors attract sunlight.  Stocking and fleece caps keep you warm but can muffle your hearing.  Gloves and mittens are definitely a must, although they can interfere with tailgating and they muffle your clapping loudness.  I prefer wool lined leather type gloves you can still maneuver around the tailgate and clapping produces a "whap whap" rather than a "muft muft".

Generally, it will be warmer inside the stadium than it is outside the body heat and adrenaline and sunshine will raise your temperature.

Beaver Stadium (inside) in nicely equipped with bathrooms especially up on the new concourse.

Sam and Ella are not welcome!  I have, thankfully, never gotten (or given) food poisoning at a tailgate.  It never hurts to be careful, especially if you are the host, you don’t want a crew of green fans with you in the Stadium (especially if you are playing Michigan State).  Here are a few basic tips for food storage and refrigeration.

A well-stocked cooler is a must! Have plenty of ice or frozen gel-packs on hand before you start packing.  Perishable foods, like meat, poultry, eggs and fish do require refrigeration.  Pack perishables directly from the refrigerator to the cooler. You can pack meat and poultry while it is still frozen. It will thaw during the trip to the stadium (or while you are there), extending its safety and shelf life.

A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than one that is only partially filled. Pack the remaining space with more ice or with fruit and non-perishable foods. Securely wrap or bag foods that may drip or leak, particularly raw meat, poultry or fish. Keep these from contact with ready-to-eat foods or beverages.

Pitch any foods that warm above refrigerator temperature (40 °F). Food poisoning bacteria grow rapidly at warm temperatures. At the end of the day, discard any raw meat or poultry left over. Non-perishables like fruits, vegetables, breads and drinks do not require refrigeration and should be okay.

Protect your fellow tailgaters from disease-causing bacteria by keeping hands and utensils clean. If soap and water will not be available, pack some moist towelettes. Bag and set aside dishes and utensils to wash with hot soapy water when you get back home.

Game watching away from University Park.

PSU alumni clubs.  The Penn State Alumni Association is the country’s (the world’s) largest alumni club.   The Alumni Association's website lists all of the local chapters and contact information for the chapter presidents.  If you aren't sure where to watch the game or are away from home for a game, contact the local chapter for information on game viewing in the area.  They will be able to help you find a place to watch the game, and many of the chapters have get-togethers to watch the games.  This can be especially helpful if the PSU game is on regional coverage and you are “out of region”.  It’s a great way to meet fellow PSUers and watch the game in a friendly atmosphere.

away game/pro game tailgate / party.  If you want to actually watch the game – then invite just your best PSU fan-friends and serve simple fare that you can prepare ahead and serve before the game starts that can be accessed during the game, with as little interruption as possible.  Depending on the time of the game, you might want to invite everyone over a few hours before the game, feed them, and then have easy serve snacks for during the game.

At foreign stadium tailgate
Contact the Nittany Lion Club and/or local Alumni Chapter to see if there are sponsored tailgates and to get information about the stadium you are visiting.  If you are familiar with the stadium then proceed as appropriate.


Tailgating hints