Tailgating History and Hacks: 2018 Edition


Tailgates are a staple of sporting events- how did it all begin?

While football is usually family-friendly, the precursor to the tailgate as we know it was much more gruesome. During France’s Reign of Terror in the late 18th century, families would show up early to political executions to enjoy a meal al fresco. According to historian Stanley Karnow, these executions often had a “carnival atmosphere”- entertaining and cheerful.

On American soil, the earliest account of tailgating was at the Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, VA- the Civil War’s first official conflict. Hundreds of Union sympathizers showed up to the battlefield with picnic baskets and wine, only expecting to see a small fight. The Confederate troops overtook the union, causing many panicked soldiers to run head-on into the tailgaters. Luckily, no civilians were killed.

Some say tailgating as we know it began at the first American football game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. However, Yale University claims it started the tradition in 1904. When cars became common, these parties would be held in parking lots outside game venues. Parking was so limited that spectators had to arrive several hours early to get a spot. They would pass the time until the game with food and drinks.

No matter the theory, tailgating of some sort has been a significant part of many sporting events.


Make your next tailgate a breeze

1. Bring a toolbox packed with your tailgate essentials, so you know exactly where your tongs and spatula are.

2. Pack your drinks first, at the bottom of the cooler so they stay cold the longest. If you bring multiple coolers, label them with some tape.

3. A twin-sized fitted bed sheet fits perfectly over a 6-foot folding table. No more messing with tablecloths!

4. For those hot, sunny, midday games, bring an air conditioner. Better yet, make one yourself!

5. If there’s going to be food, there’s going to be a mess. Keep paper towels nearby using a bungee cord.

6. Instead of a bulky trash can, opt for a collapsible stand to hold your trash bags.

7. Use a muffin pan to hold all the condiments for burgers/dogs/brats.

8. Always have a reliable power source. No power = no fun!

We’ll be bringing up a variety of Honda generators to the UCLA game on 9/28. See you there, and GO BUFFS!