If you're a Midwestern sports fan, then you already know that football and tailgating are taken very seriously here. At Casey's, we're always cheering for the true winner of the season: a big, fun tailgate celebration! There's something so exciting about gathering with friends and family to get everyone pumped up before the big game.
That's why we've collected some of our team's favorite tailgating hacks to share with you. Keep reading for tips to help you have the best tailgating season ever.
Choosing the right spot for your tailgating camp is crucial. Make sure to head out early so that you can get first dibs on all the prime-time areas.
Insider advice: find that just-right distance from the dumpsters and bathrooms. You don't want to be so far away that cleanup or bathroom breaks feel like a chore, but you also don't want to be so close that your appetite suffers because unpleasant smells keep crashing the party.
If you can find that perfect-distanced spot (with maybe even a little bit of shade!) – then you scored big time.
Energy at your tailgating site could drain fast if you don't have activities that can help people mingle and have a great time. One foolproof way to make sure everyone is happy and energized is by bringing various games to play throughout the day.
A classic Midwestern game is cornhole (aka bags!). Make the game your own by decorating a set of wooden boards – we recommend adding your favorite team's logo or painting on your favorite foods (pepperoni pizza theme, anyone?).
Die-hard tailgaters know that to have a successful tailgate, you can't just wake up and go. You have to get everyone dressed and ready, grab all the last-minute items, and figure out how to fit all your goodies in the back of the car like a game of Tetris. Plus, as we mentioned in tip #1, getting to the tailgate area early is important for finding a good spot – so often the last thing anyone wants to do is make any menu items the morning of.
De-stress your morning, and instead preorder the night before the big game. Order breakfast pizza, donuts, chips – whatever your group craves – and then simply swing by your local Casey's on the way to the game, and our team will have everything ready for you! With curbside pickup, you don't even have to leave the car, making this game play a winner.
PREORDER YOUR FAVORITES
Have you ever been at a tailgate where there weren't any plates or napkins? Talk about a messy play! Make sure everyone is set up for the best time by making sure you're stocked with all the essentials you need to serve and clean up with ease.
Insider tip: Bundle sets of utensils, paper plates, and napkins together in resealable bags for easy distribution on game day (plus, people have bags for their own trash!).
Keep the crowd lively by creating your own ultimate tailgating playlist with all of your team's favorites tunes. Bring a portable speaker for easy listening – just don't forget to charge it the night before!
One of the most frustrating parts of a tailgate party is trying to find your friends and getting lost in the chaos of the crowd. Give your spot something that is easy to recognize so that it can be seen in a big group.
Try using helium balloons in your team's colors to give your tailgate a spirited touch and to help your station be seen from far away. Fun banners or life-size cutouts of favorite players are also fun ways to stand out in the crowd!
One of the most refreshing ways to quench your thirst at a tailgate is with nice ice-cold beverages. But the key to making sure your drink selection is top-notch is by ensuring that everything stays cold, even on a hot day.
Try freezing water bottles and adding them to your cooler in place of ice. They will chill your other drinks at the start of your tailgate – and by the end of the game, you're left with cold water to enjoy!
No matter what your meal plan looks like for the big day, make sure you reap the benefits of Rewards. Keep the whole team happy by ordering all the favorites – pizza, snacks, drinks, desserts – and scoring huge Rewards points on all of them!
Already have some points stocked up? Redeem them to get those game day goodies for free! 250 points can score you a free Casey's Water, 500 points can be redeemed for a refreshing Mountain Dew, or try a free breakfast sandwich when you redeem 750 points – plus so much more!
EARN POINTS FOR FREE FOOD
Create a go-to emergency kit that will help you be prepared for any unpredictable weather situation that the Midwest might throw at you on game day. Pack bug spray, sunscreen, a poncho, jackets, an umbrella, blankets, sunglasses, and handwarmers in a large tote bag to make sure you're ready for any scenario.
You can even add in some fun game-day gear for the little ones in your crew like colored beads, face paints, and coloring books to ensure you're equipped for every party guest to have a great time.
Clean-up is never fun, but planning it ahead of time will make the task feel less daunting for everyone. Put a garbage bag in a pop-up hamper that everyone can use to toss their trash in at your tailgating spot so that you hopefully only have to make one trip to the dumpster. Bonus: the hamper will collapse back down when you're done and take up hardly any of your cargo space!
Can't decide who has to throw out the trash? We suggest the losers of a cornhole tournament take the responsibility of being the day's dumpster runners!
Don't forget to tag us in your tailgating pictures on social media and click the social media sharing icons to share these hacks with your friends!
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