As summer creeps into fall, the weather is getting better. It's almost time to break out those long sleeves, but they better be garnet and gold because the dawn of college football is upon us. That means that the weekend plans are going to get a lot easier. It's time to get the grills fired up and begin stock piling as many beverages as possible.
It's a beautiful thing to walk around Doak Campbell Stadium during game day. There are thousands of college students, families and alumni coming together to pay their respects to the great game of football, each in their own way. The excitement of a great game is in the air. At any moment there are hundreds of burgers being eaten while there are hundreds more being flipped. It's a well oiled machine. One of the greatest things about it is that you can rile up a crowd of 20-30 people you've never met before by shouting any of the popular Florida State chants. It works. I mean it. When you're on your way to the game shout "F.L.O.R.I.D.A" and witness the fan-tastic snowball effect you have just started.
I had the pleasure of spending a few years in one of Tallahassee's premier tailgating destinations: Indian Village. It's just a short walk south of the Doak Campbell stadium and that makes it prime real estate. Living there taught me to keep a few important things in mind during the pregame shenanigans. I always made sure I had enough to eat, drink, and I at least tried to be somewhat responsible.
If you're hosting a tailgate, the main thing that can take it to the next level is a lot of food. This means burgers, hotdogs, chips, kebabs, and pretty much any other food that can easily be eaten with one hand (because the other will be holding a drink). Some tailgates go all out with Gator Tail, low-country boils and jambalaya. Most of these foods will obviously need a grill. If you don't have one or a friend with one, try to get one 3-4 days before game time so you can get familiar with it. Go for coal if you want to spend less money on a grill and have more flavor, or go for propane if you want to spend more money up front but have higher efficiency during the actual tailgate. It's an age old dilemma that ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Drinking and responsibility go hand in hand in these types of situations. Providing kegs and liquor for larger tailgating events set a strong foundation for how good or bad it's going to go. Things start to go sour when the coolers run dry so if you're expecting a large turnout, try getting a keg or two at Mike's Beer Barn, a Tallahassee staple. It's always a safe bet to have a large amount of soft drinks and water on hand as well.
After you cover those bases, you can focus on other less important aspects like tables, chairs, TV's and music. So enjoy the cooler weather, the fabulous football and the comradery of tailgating in Tallahassee! Go Seminoles!