Tailgate Like A Champion
While some enjoy walking through campus and listening to the band play at Bond Hall, other Notre Dame fans enjoy a different tradition on game day – tailgating. Surrounded by throngs of football fans, tailgating has taken on a life of its own on game day. In the process, it’s become synonymous with the college football game day experience. For some, tailgating has become as integral to their day as the game itself. It can also be just as much fun.
Here are a few important things to know about tailgating to make sure you have as much fun as possible on game day.
Where to Go
Plan ahead and check out the different parking areas available around campus. Whether you have a parking pass or not, be sure to follow the signage to your destination lot. Parking attendants are plentiful on game day and are able to help, if necessary. If you’re traveling with multiple cars, make sure everyone arrives at the same time, as holding adjacent spots for others is not allowed. Obviously, be sure to use only one parking spot per car. You’ll also want to make note of where you’re parking in relation to the stadium – tailgating has to cease when the game begins, and you don’t want to miss kickoff!
What to Wear
It’s not mandatory, but displaying your school allegiance is an important part of any tailgate party. If you’re in town to see the Irish play, why not wear your team pride – be it in the form of your favorite Notre Dame shirt or sweater, or something else showing your Irish pride. If you don’t have anything handy, anything in your team’s colors can do in a pinch. For any extra help meeting all your Irish gear needs, head to the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, just west of Notre Dame Avenue.
What to Bring
Grilling and tailgating go hand-in-hand. While grilling isn’t mandatory on game day, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a freshly grilled bratwurst or burger before kickoff. If you do plan to grill, remember that charcoal grills are not allowed on University property. Propane grills are fine, and are much easier to use in a parking lot anyway. Also, remember to have the appropriate size grill for your party. If you’re planning for only handful of friends, a small grill is just fine. However, if you’re throwing a larger pregame party, you’ll need a bigger grill – or else you’ll have a long line of hungry friends come game time. Just keep the gas cylinders under 20 lbs.
Food & Drink
There are a few standards for tailgate food – burgers, brats, and hotdogs top the list. But variety is important if you’re hosting a larger party. Healthy options are a good idea, and believe it or not, not everyone loves burgers and brats! Also, if you are grilling, be sure to have something available to the masses while you’re cooking. Chips, pretzels, even a veggie tray will work. Plus, it’s always better to be prepared in the event of a grill malfunction. In terms of drinks, it’s important to ensure that you have something for everyone, so remember to pack non-alcoholic drinks in addition to the beer and wine. Also, it’s worth remembering that kegs are not permitted in University parking lots.
There always seems to be a few little things that people often fail to think about until it’s too late. Paper plates and napkins are easy to forget when you’re busy preparing ribs and burgers. Chairs are also easy to forget when packing coolers, propane tanks and your bag-toss set. Tailgate canopies are also great extras – especially in the event of imperfect weather – although walled tents are prohibited. These little extras can make a big difference at your tailgate, so pack accordingly.
What Else to Do
While catching up with friends and family and reliving your favorite Notre Dame moments can make for a fun tailgate party, a little extra entertainment can really liven up your pregame festivities. Having a battery-operated stereo for music can really add to the experience. Tossing a football around the parking lot is also a great way to prepare for a game and enjoy the atmosphere. It can also be a great way to make new friends – or foes if you’re not careful where you’re throwing it. Other great games include bag toss and washers. Both are easy to play and simple to set up, making them perfect for your tailgate party. Just be sure to keep the tailgating confined to the aisles and out of the parking spots. Remember to work to keep your tailgate green with help from the Office of Sustainability
At the end of the day, you’re there for one simple reason – to have fun while enjoying a football game. Don’t forget that fact in the midst of all your planning and packing. And don’t worry if you forget something – a pregame parking lot is one of the friendliest atmospheres in the world. Everyone in your lot is there for the same reason – so you automatically have something in common. The good vibes that envelop the lot before a game make it easy to meet new friends and get some help at the same time. Total strangers have been known to share everything from food to propane tanks and even grills before a game – all for the common good: enjoying your tailgate party.
In the event of an emergency, let a uniformed security officer or lot supervisor know right away. Notre Dame Security Police can be reached at (574) 631-5555, or you can also text IRISH and the issue to 69050. All these services are available to help immediately, so please don’t hesitate to ask.