21st century tailgating

As I wrote in my cookbook “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home,” the concept of tailgating may go back as far as the late 1800s, depending on who you believe. Yale claims it was the site of the first football tailgate in 1904, when fans came in by train and brought food with them. Rutgers and Princeton say they were the first, at the schools’ first football game in 1869, when fans brought picnics in their carriages.

Either way, the idea of bringing food, fans and football together is more than 100 years old, but is stronger than ever. Today, I have some tips from the next generation of tailgaters, who use the latest technology to keep the party going.

A group of high school students who call themselves the Leesville Loonies Grill Team in Raleigh, N.C. organize tailgate parties before every Leesville High School football game – home or away, doesn’t matter. As many as 125 students show up for the tailgate, which is held (with permission) at a nearby swim club. The organizers use a Facebook page to provide information about the tailgate and drum up support for the team.

“Social media is a really good way to organize,” says Leesville senior Kyle Holtman, a member of the Grill Team. “You can remind everybody where we’re all meeting up or where to park.”

Kyle had other advice: “Have a group of people working on [the tailgate] rather than just one or two. And always have enough burgers.” Words to live by.

Do you have advice for organizing the tailgate or a great recipe? Send it on to me at debbie (AT) debbiemoose.com and I’ll share it with other fans here.

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