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It’s almost time to move my youngest daughter to college and I am already counting down the days to football season (I am not, however, counting down the days to her moving).  When we tailgate, we really love to be a little extra. Throughout the years, I have found that it is easier to have a tailgate wagon ready to go from the beginning of the season. Put all of your basic needs in the wagon and then all you have to worry about is the food theme for each game. I have found it is easier to do food themes. For example, the first game is typically the traditional hamburgers, hot dogs, etc., but after that, we choose the theme based on the time of the game. Morning games are breakfast with things like breakfast casserole, an assortment of bagels and spread, a fruit tray, and, of course, mimosas. Afternoon games have a lot more flexibility and we like to mix it up and do food themes like Mexican with walking tacos or this nacho bar by

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To get you started, here is your basic tailgate wagon checklist:

  • Portable grill
  • Grill utensils
  • Coolers x 2 (one for perishable items and the other for drinks)
  • Bottled water
  • Crackers, chips (things that store well without refrigeration and have a long expiration date)
  • Condiments
  • Bottle openers
  • Paper towels
  • Brown paper lunch bags. The sky is the limit! Set up a popcorn bar or use them to hold chips. Cut the tops off for easy serving.

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Team themed/colored napkins
  • Disposable plates, cups, utensils – both football theme and clear
  • Pop-up tent
  • Chairs and folding tables
  • Trash bags
  • Plastic tablecloths and cloth tablecloths (I like white and burlap) and table clips to hold down the tablecloth
  • Plastic trays for serving – both football theme and clear
  • Team and football themed decorations, such as pennants, banners, etc.

Now for the “extra” elements:

  • First, start with a basic tablecloth of burlap as a blank canvas, so you can change with each game.
  • Themed napkins – I splurge a bit on my napkins allowing them to give me a pop of color and reflect the theme.
  • Get another pop of color from themed serving bowls and platters.
  • Tie together bandanas in your school colors to make a bunting for the front of your table.
  • Add in a few fun game related items like a foam finger and megaphone to add personality and fun.

  • To change up your table, add a piece of green AstroTurf as a table runner.
  • Change the bunting to a pennant banner on the front of the table.
  • Dress up your cupcakes with spirited toppers, like mini footballs, mini #1 picks, anything that reflects the spirit of the season.

  • Dress up the hand sanitizer with a school colored ribbon.
  • Have fun stickers and face tattoos on hand.

The possibilities are endless and the best part is you can do this whether or not you are actually going to the game. You can have a fun tailgate party in your own backyard and invite all your friends over to watch the game. It is fun, relaxing and a great way to kick off the fall fun!

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