Fall in the South is more than a season—it’s an experience. Above all things pumpkin, falling leaves, and cozy sweaters, it’s football season! In the South, we love our football, game days, and cheering on our teams every weekend no matter where we are. A tailgating can happen when we’re at home, at the stadium, or throwing a bash at a friend’s place.
There isn’t a better time than now to dream about the perfect game-day party. With the weather just right this time of year, and homecoming season and playoff games just around the corner, you’ll be looking forward to spending game day with your family, getting together with friends, enjoying the comfortable, cool weather, beautiful fall foliage, and letting the serious football fever of the South take over.
Host a stylish tailgate with Tent Guys this fall.
Whether your team is slaying the game or hitting a rough patch, make your tailgating top notch. We have 10 tips for a great tailgate this year with exciting ways to use Tent Guys to elevate your pre-game festivities.
Before we jump into the details, here’s a basic list of what you can prepare to put together a festive, fall, and proper Southern tailgate:
- 10×10 Tent
- Folding tables and chairs
- Table cloths and runners
- Bags of ice (and a couple extra to replenish)
- Serving bowls and trays
- Portable grill
- Salad tongs
- Plates, spoons, forks, and knives
- Plastic wrap
- Paper towels and napkins
- Warm blankets
- Extra sweatshirts, scarves, hats, and gloves
- Pre-game playlist
- Hand wipes
- Trash bags
- Freezer bags
- Bottle opener
- Wine opener
- Outdoor games
- Beer and wine
- Soda and water
- Team koozies
- Thermos (hot cocoa, cider, and coffee)
- Add some spice to a traditional tailgate:
Chances are that if you’re serious about tailgating, someone in the crew has a designated SUV with a large and open trunk or a truck with a proper tailgate. While the tailgate is a great space for sitting to eat if you’re trying to keep extra equipment at a minimum, it’s also a cozy opportunity for showing your game-day spirit. Add a couple of blankets and pillows, and suddenly adults and children alike have a comfortable space to sit back and enjoy the tailgate.
Alternatively, you can convert your SUV into an on-the-go table. Drape a tablecloth across the back of your SUV and you’ve created a chic base that transforms your tailgate space, and you can host your team colors. With 45 colors to choose from at Tent Guys, you are sure to find your team color. Add a mini cooler, small sides, and a portable grill, and you’re ready to party!
The benefit of working entirely from your SUV tailgate is if you’re in a crunch for space, you’ll have everything you need right from your own vehicle. Plus, if everything you brought to the tailgate fits in the back, your cleanup will take no time at all, and you can focus on heading over to the game or back inside to the TV.
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- Your Team, Your Theme
Decorate your tailgate with your team’s colors. Using serving pieces like team-colored tablecloths, plates, napkins, and serving bowls, will make your tailgate will feel more festive than ever.
- Little accents create a big impact
Presentation is everything when it comes to a tailgate. Start with a base linen tablecloth in one of your team’s colors and build out from there. A complementary table runner in the secondary team color can solidify the color scheme, and from there unique items, like team cups to hold straws, wicker baskets of food, a team football on display, or whatever theme you’re going for, will make things look even better.
Get the Instagram Aesthetic
Tailgates are a memorable photo-opportunity, so provide your guests with the tailgate-aesthetic on the cheap. Accessorize your tailgate with banners, a mini chalkboard with team cheers, pom-poms, or a felt letter board documenting the date and college. Faux flowers from a local craft store are an easy way to brighten up a tailgate table or backseat. Plus, faux flowers are guaranteed to stay fresh for every weekend of the season.
Pumpkins and mums can liven up your food display, plus you can have fun DIY’ing a painted pumpkin with your mascot or team colors. Plaid blankets and throws in team colors can tie together the fall-themed tailgate.
Go for rustic chic
Add a Southern feel to your tailgate by experimenting with rustic wood, tin metal, and copper accents. Whether you’re using a tin bucket to cool the beers, a wooden serving tray to hold condiments, or copper mugs for Moscow Mules, material variations add visual interest to your table. If you want to go super rustic, burlap table runners and banners are a perfect accessory.
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What’s a tailgate without traditional tailgate food and drinks? Everyone has a tailgate traditional drink or game-day snacks that are a must-have, and your tailgate should be ready to handle them.
For the serious tailgaters looking to up their game this year, consider bringing a portable bar. A portable bar rental is an easy way to house all of your drink needs in one station. Fill it up with your chosen beer, wine, and liquor, and become the ultimate host and bartender for your tailgate.
For waters, sodas, or other food and drink items that require cooling at your tailgate, Tent Guys also offers 120-QT coolers. Whether you’re hosting a killer Panther’s tailgate uptown or throwing a Saturday college football party at your house, these large coolers are cheap, efficient, and perfect for keeping guests supplied with icy beverages and properly stored food.
- Creating a Comfortable Space
If you’re a regular tailgater, invest in a festive tent for game day parties. It’s a great way to centralize your tailgate space and guests and keep all of your food and drinks shaded and a bit more protected for the elements.
With 100 square feet of canopy coverage, our 10×10 tent is the perfect size for your next tailgate. It can be staked into grass or gravel, or alternatively, weighted down if your tailgate is on concrete or asphalt. Better yet, your team flag can be added to the peak of the tent to fly with pride!
While most guests bring their own fold-up chairs, tables are also a must-have for your tailgate.
We recommend our 6’ or 8’ foot rectangular tables. Depending on the number of guests coming, these tables are great if you need the space to display all of the food and drinks in a buffet-style fashion. If you’re not looking to use tablecloths, a fitted plastic, disposable table cover is a great option to keep your table and clean up simple.
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- Keeping food hot and cold
Beyond coolers, tin foil, and plastic wrap, tailgating food generally doesn’t include anything high-maintenance. Minimize high-maintenance foods that need to be kept precisely hot or cold to be edible to one or two items. We recommend selecting a majority of menu items that are best kept at room temperature, or cooked items that are even better cold; we’re looking at you, pigs in a blanket.
For staple hot items like ribs, burgers, or hot dogs, a mini grill is a great investment to host a filling game day menu.
Cast iron skillets are great for cooking and serving food. Make sure you bring a cast iron trivet to avoid damage to the table or consider using bricks to hold up the cast iron skillet.
- Don’t let the temperatures keep guests from enjoying the tailgate
Patio heaters are perfect for providing heat to small tailgate areas. Your guests will more than appreciate the opportunity to warm up their hands after holding icy beverages and preparing to head to the stadium.
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- Score big with snacks everyone will love
Picking up or packing easy items like veggies plates and dressing or seasonal fruit can be personalized with unique serving plates and platters. Invite guests to bring their traditional tailgate foods in a potluck style. From pasta salad to sliders, wings, and guacamole, there’s an endless array of foods that will keep the party going without worrying about spoiling.
- Serve in (sustainable) style
While many think disposable everything (plates, utensils, bowls, etc.) are the way to go with tailgates, renting or purchasing quality, reusable items are more sustainable and add style and personalized touches to your party. There’s nothing like serving a game-day themed drink from a pretty glass with a homemade dip paired with your favorite chips. Fancy plates and glass bowls are too fussy for a tailgate but don’t sacrifice style. Instead of serving out of plastic storage containers or flimsy platters, try displaying your food in linen-covered baskets, boxes, and crates instead. Not only are they lightweight, but there’s also no chance of breakage, and they offer an additional opportunity to tie together your tailgate theme.
- Stand out from the crowd
Setting a stand out table is the easiest way to be the tailgate that attracts everyone’s attention. Add layers of height to your table and create an eye-catching dimension with tall cake plates, crates, and drink bowls. Local grocery stores or bakeries are typically stocked with team-themed cookies and cakes. We love using a tiered server to display cupcakes and cookies, and to add visual interest to your tailgate table.
Don’t forget to accessorize with the finishing touches. Bring along a speaker to pump up the game-day spirit with your favorite hype songs, throwback to the songs that got you through college, or blast out the school spirit song. Get your guests moving and staying warm by bringing along games to play. A football is an obvious choice, working great as table décor, but even better as a quick pick up game to get into the football mood. Cornhole is the ultimate tailgate game, as it creates teams among guests, and, our favorite, allows guests to keep holding a drink as they play this low-key game.
Fuel the fun and game-day spirit with Tent Guys.
Tent Guys is excited about football season and providing you with the gear you need to host the perfect tailgate. Use some of our tips and tricks to create a memorable tailgate party.
Once you have the right tailgate spot, tables, chairs, linens, décor, and food, it’s time to start the party! Tent Guys has everything you need for your perfect Southern tailgate. This season, choose Tent Guys for your tailgate rental needs.