For many Lions fans, football and tailgating is nearly a religion. In this vain, I hereby present the 10 Commandments of Tailgating in Detroit.
1. Purchase your tickets for the Eastern Market tailgate area well in advance: There are a lot of tailgating fans in Detroit and you don’t want to find out there are no tickets available. So make sure to go to the Eastern Market website to purchase your tailgating ticket as soon as you know you’ll be attending a game.
2. Arrive in plenty of time to get the tailgate started: If you have a grill to set up, a stove to start or a hot tub to heat, then arrive at Ford Field when the tailgating area opens four hours before the game. Don’t get there late, because then you have to make a mad dash to get everything done before kickoff.
3. Bring plenty of food: Tailgating is hard work and can build up a massive appetite. There is nothing worse than running out of food while the tailgaters next to you are still chowing down on the first course.
4. Ice, ice and more ice: You need to keep things cold and whether it is food or beverages, ice can get the job done. Grab an extra cooler or two and toss in bags of ice so when you need to chill that drink, all you have to do is reach in and grab a few cubes.
5. Beverages, lots of beverages: Along with tailgating causing hunger, it also makes fans rather thirsty. So make sure you have plenty of libations to keep you happy. Just remember that some people who may be attending will have different tastes so have a variety of both adult and soft drinks.
6. Monitor what your drivers drink: On the subject of partaking of the grog, be aware that you drove to the tailgate area and you will have to drive home. Either establish a designated driver or only have a few drinks of your own. No one wants to ruin the day by breaking the law and putting others at risk.
7. Bring enough gear so everyone is comfortable: If you arrive four hours before the game, you will want to rest your feet at some point and so will your guests. Toss enough chairs into the tailgate mobile and a small folding table. These will give you the extra area you need to prepare food and a place to sit and eat.
8. Bring trash bags: With nearly 3,000 people heading to the tailgate area at Eastern Market, trash can accumulate quite easily. Bring your own trash bags so you can dispose as you go. Then at the end of the tailgate, all you have to do is toss bags into the provided dumpsters.
9. Dump your coals in designated areas: When the barbecue is ready to be put away and the coals are still hot, you need to dispose of them properly. There are bins for hot coals at the Eastern Market tailgate area. Bring a metal bucket and scoop so you can clean out the grill, carry the coals over to the bins and get rid of them.
10. Be a happy and helpful tailgater: Help out the other tailgaters around you. If they need a condiment and you have it, then pass it down. Do not impinge on other people’s space because they paid for it and they deserve it. Relax, have a good time and join in on the party with everyone else. After all, that’s what tailgating is for.
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.