It’s that time of year! The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, the sound of “Go, Team, Go” fills the air and echoes through the town. That’s right, it’s tailgate season. One of my more memorable tailgates was at Lambeau Field (I was there for my husband, more about that later). I do not know if you have ever taken part in a Green Bay Packer Tailgate but, I kid you not it is a town event. The businesses close and instead of pushing their wares they rent out their parking lots and join in the fun. Except for the bars of the east side of town, they are packed with enthusiastic fans.
Now, I’ve been to my share of tailgates, but, most of the tailgates I have attended are centralized around the stadium and if you walk outside of that area the rest of the city is living on in normalcy. In Green Bay, if the Packers are in town, you are not going to go anywhere or find anyone that isn’t tailgating. I’m sure you have participated in a huge town celebration before, now imagine doing that at least eight times in a small window of time and often back to back. It must be exhausting for the townies, but man is it fun for us outsiders!
Today’s post is all about the tailgate, a pregame celebration before the game. A belief if we eat enough or drink enough our beloved team will come away with the win (shrug). The first step to a successful tailgate celebration is to find the perfect spot and set up camp. The ideal spot is in the parking lot where you can be front and center with other tailgaters. It can get a bit intense and overcrowded if you are in the center of the lot. Today we lucked out and found a spot in the lot right up against the grassy boundary line with a happy house party behind us.
Some of us will eventually wander into the stadium and find our seats. Many others will remain outside watching the game on T.V. Either way it is important to prepare for a long day. Bring sweaters and extra blankets for warmth. Comfortable chairs and a few games to help fill the time. I like to bring a football to toss around and a cornhole set is always a crowd pleaser.
But, the true star of any tailgate is the food. You want to plan a menu that will travel well. The nice thing about today’s vehicles is they come equipped with house-style AC outlets. If your vehicle is older purchase an adaptor for that all-important crock pot. Chili is probably one of the easiest and most common tailgate foods. My version is a rich bean version that is simmered in spicy flavors.
Another crowd pleaser is pork chop sandwiches so bring along a smaller grill. I like to marinade the pork chops in a root beer marinate overnight and bring them to the game in the sauce ready to be grilled on the spot. Save room on the grill to add a skillet of seasoned onion, peppered bacon, and brats.
Bring snacks that have a game day theme. The Packers colors are yellow and green so toss yellow and green M&Ms with a bowl of popcorn. Team-colored cupcakes is another quick and easy game snack. I made lemon cupcakes adding yellow dye to the batter to give me a bolder pop of color. Green dye in the frosting with a cheese-shaped cracker for garnish leaves no room doubt which team you are rooting for. (Well, he’s rooting for.)
Take care in packing the vehicle. Bring two coolers. Toss the empty dishes and garbage in one cooler and the excess foods over ice in the other. This will make clean up quick and easy keeping your car clean. Always bring a pair of scissors and gorilla tape. I do not know why but both are always needed.
It’s game time! There is no need to check my watch to know this. About an hour before the game you will see a mass of green and yellow coming towards you. It’s sorta like that scene in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” when the mothership lands and everyone starts walking slowly toward the ship. It both fascinating and as a Bear fan a little intimidating!
So, just to be clear: My husband is the only Packer fan in this household. We allow it only because we have grown attached to him. This game and tailgate celebration was a Christmas present to him. But my heart belongs to the Chicago Bears.
I’m going to insist on some major wife points for not only attending a Packer game but providing Packer treats. I may never be allowed back into my beloved city after this post. Do you tailgate? What are your most memorable tailgate moments? Share with me below in the comments. – Ella💙