So you get to the Eastern Market tailgating lot, you pull up and darn, you did it again. You forgot something at home. Just like the pros have a play book, the tailgater needs one too. So while we are all waiting for the next home game, which is on September 30 against the Minnesota Vikings, it is time to put together that list of all-important tailgate gear.
It may sound foolish, but how many times have you been half way to an event and then think, “did I bring the tickets?” So once you buy them online, put them on the list or you could end up on the sidelines watching everyone else execute their tailgating plays. Aside from the ever-important tickets, there are a few other tailgate staples that must be remembered for a great Lions tailgating experience.
Keep It Cool
We all know you need a cooler, but for the easiest way of doing things, bring two. One can be for the food and the other for all the beverages. Not only will it keep things a bit more organized, but you can store the food in order of importance and use. Be sure the cooler is packed in a way so nothing gets crushed like when Vanden Bosch grabs hold of an opposing player or two. Also, don’t forget to double bag items that could contaminate the other food.
Then you can take the second cooler, add the cans or bottles of your preferred beverage and just dump a bag or two of ice on top.
Odds are you won’t forget the grill, but there is a chance that the grill utensils could be left behind. To make things easy, after they are washed up, put them back into a large re-sealable plastic bag and then store them in the grill itself. Then when you get to the parking lot and open the lid, there they are, just like Ndamukong Suh in the opposing quarterback’s face.
While on the subject of grills, remember to check that you have all other essential supplies. If using a gas grill, make sure you have enough fuel before game time. If you are a charcoal grill lover, then be sure to bring charcoal, starter fluid and matches or a lighter.
Eating Utensils, Plates, Etc.
Sure there are some tailgating foods you can eat with your hands, but that potato salad will make a bit of a mess without utensils. A small plastic storage container is big enough to hold a lot of silverware and other small items. Put everything you need to eat on and with into a large plastic storage container, something in the 18- to 30-gallon range, that will keep the contents clean, dry and together. One more tip is to tape a list of what should be in the container to the inside of the lid. Then all you need to do is make sure it is loaded up the night before and you are ready to leave on game day.
Specialty Beverage Tools
If you have ever had a bottle of wine and no corkscrew, you understand the meaning of want and fate. Odds are you will never need a corkscrew when you have one, but leave it at home and the best bottle of wine you have ever laid eyes on will appear out of nowhere.
The same goes for an old-fashioned bottle opener. With all the specialty beers on the market now, most without screw-top lids, you will end up using your car keys or some other tool to get to the good stuff. Make it easy on yourself and pack an opener.
Just About Anything Else
Everyone has special items they like to tailgate with. Coffee pots, special beer mugs, beer hats and decorations for the tailgate area will often make the trip. By making a list of these important items, you will have the coolest tailgate party around. When you hear the call go out from a fellow tailgater, “does anyone have a cork screw,” you can deliver the crucial handoff.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.