Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Obviously the goal of every tailgate is to have as much fun as possible but you want to be sure you do it in a safe, responsible manner. Mostly, you just don't want to get hit with a massive ticket or fine for bringing contraband in when you could have known to leave at home beforehand.
Some stadiums have varying policies on what is and isn't acceptable to bring to the game for a tailgate. Dave helped to clue us in on what you need to be aware of:
As far things not to bring to the stadium, the three most commonly banned items are charcoal, glass and alcohol. Some stadiums do not allow charcoal because not only is it messy and requires proper disposal it also can be potentially dangerous because there is no "on/off switch" when it comes to charcoal. It never fails that some tailgater thinks it is a good idea to place his little BBQ underneath his car to cool off all while being "hidden" from those passing by. Invariably there is a car fire and lots and lots of damage. So because of this liability many stadiums have banned charcoal because they do not want to deal with the potential risks and headaches.
Another possible item of contraband is glass. Same rules apply for charcoal in that stadiums view glass bottles or anything in glass as potentially dangerous. Not only could glass break and pop tires but a broken bottle could be used as a weapon to cut someone. With so many things coming in plastic or aluminum cans many stadium have gone to a "no glass" policy.
The third item, and thankfully the least common, is alcohol. Many stadium parking lots are owned by the city in which they reside. Many times the city council will make sweeping legislation stating that no alcohol may be consumed in public areas like a park or at the beach. These laws extend to city owned stadiums and parking lots and some stadiums will enforce these laws pretty strictly. I know for example, Angel Stadium in Anaheim, has an alcohol ban in place by the city of Anaheim and the police officers patrolling the parking lot strictly enforce that law.
If there's ever any question about tailgating policy it's always best to research the answer in advance. A great resource for finding out about answers to stadium questions is Tailgate Wiki.
Let's face it, guys like stuff. With that in mind, a lot of the fun of tailgating is getting to use gadgets and gear specifically tailored for the occasion. That's where Tailgating Ideas really shines.
Dave personally recommends a number of items from his tailgating shop, including the GoBar Portable Bar and the Drill Blender for mixing delicious frozen concoctions on the spot during your tailgating festivities.
Of course, regardless of what extras you choose to bring with you on your next tailgating excursion it's the best practice to follow these three simple guidelines: plan ahead, know the rules and have fun! Do that and you'll be on your way to having the perfect tailgating experience.
See you in the parking lot.
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