Tailgating: A History

Tailgating Defined:

It is a sea of tens of thousands of people, eating, drinking, cooking, smoking, laughing, singing, and dancing. It is throwing a football, predicting the outcome, talking with the opposing school’s fans, posing for pictures, getting paws painted on your face, waiting in line for the port-a-potty, catching up with old friends, arguing with current friends, and meeting new friends. It is planning road trips, flying flags to show school spirit, praying, hoping it doesn’t rain, staying dry if it does. It is watching the Blue Band march in, avoiding the sun in summer, and seeking it futilely in winter, looking for tickets, looking to get rid of tickets, saying “I remember when…”, and hoping it doesn’t have to end in November. It is, and We Are Penn State Tailgating.

Six times a year, the small University town of State College, PA (pop. approx. 70,000) turns into one of the best atmospheres for a sporting exhibition in the country. Fans and tailgaters of all ages, races, religions, and backgrounds come together through bumper to bumper traffic for one thing; Penn State Football. Out of this football atmosphere grew the art of tailgating.

The history of the PennStateTailgate.com-ers is very distinguished. Our tailgate, like many, started to form in 1996 with a group of PSU students and friends who had tailgated throughout their college career, and wanted to become regulars. It started with a few people visiting our friend’s mom on game day, some cold food, the occasional hibachi, and a set of 4, red canvas Coleman stools to sit on. Officially started in the fall of 1997, today, we all have comfortable chairs with arms, three canopies, a steam table full of great recipes, two grills, and too many coolers and people to count. We are a group of people dedicated to one thing, and one thing only; FUN. For some in our group it is all about the football. For some it is all about the eating, but for most it is about both. Penn State Football is after all about more than JoePa. It’s something that some fans are more loyal to than anything in the world. It is Penn State Tailgating. Across the country, there are countless groups like ours who have been tailgating for 20, 30, 50 years at Penn State and hundreds of other sporting events across the country. It is a lifestyle.

Here is what you need to create your own tailgate party for your favorite event:

A good parking space: While we prefer the IM lot (see directions) PSU is famous for parking its fans in fields where the animals roam during the week. While there is no best place to park for the average fan it is important to get up early and get a space that makes you feel comfortable, no matter what event you are attending.

Food: Food, next to football, is the reason many people tailgate. Some do cold cuts, some grill steaks, some prefer the…umm…purely liquid diet. Whatever your preference we have compiled some recipes that have become favorites of the PennStateTailgate.com-ers and our guests. Find the ones you like and email me any of your favorites to be added to the list.

Beverage: Pick what you enjoy. While most prefer beer, you can be creative, with Mimosas and Irish coffee in the morning, and Captain Morgan to cap the evening. If you prefer the non-alcoholic beverage pick your favorite soft drink.

Gas Grill
Folding Chairs
Steam Table (available at Party Stores, and invaluable to keeping your favorite casseroles and other dishes hot)
Folding Tables
Flags to show your spirit
Anything else to bring the spirit of the day to your group!

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