Who doesn’t love a good tailgate party? Sports fans across the country are turning their simple tailgates into over-the-top celebrations. People have moved away from packing a few sandwiches and a six-pack for a pregame party to extravagant parking lot parties with great food, impressive decorations, and fun drinks. And when those parties have some style and flair, they’re more than tailgates. They’re glamgates, and they’re getting more and more popular. Want to turn your next tailgate into a glamgate? Here’s how.
1. Choose your game-day menu. Food is the most important part of a tailgate. You want to pick meals that are easy to prepare and will be a hit with your friends, but the key to glamgate food is all in the preparation. Glamgate food can’t be last-minute. It’s homemade chili you bring and keep warm in a slow cooker. It’s fresh dips you make ahead of time and serve on a cool tray or in creative serving dishes. It’s burgers made on-site on a portable grill, in tasty variations like Juicy Lucy Stuffed Burgers and Italian Meatball Burgers. And don’t forget to bring simple appetizers or snacks for people to eat throughout the day, like a veggie tray, cookies, cupcakes or even a charcuterie board.
2. Presentation is key. Set a tablescape the whole parking lot will want to see. Show your team spirit and decorate your table in your team’s colors—bring a few pom-poms, team props, and store-bought flowers. Add some dimension to your table with a unique food display. Set your drinks out on a tray or in an ice bucket, place your cupcakes on a tiered server, and add crates to display your burgers.
3. Be the parking lot mixologist. Beer is fine for tailgates, but glamgates need something a little extra. Bring a cocktail set and make delicious cocktails and mocktails your friends will love. Serve drinks that will complement your menu or create your own signature drink that matches your team colors, or is representative of your team’s culture or location like a Tequila Sunrise in Arizona or an Old Fashioned on the east coast.
4. Bring the tailgate essentials. Every tailgate needs blankets, games, chairs, speakers, and a tent, but a glamgate has everything coordinated. Chairs match the blankets, music complements the games, and the tent has some flair.
5. Make your glamgate easy to find. Trying to find a tailgate in a crowded parking lot can sometimes be impossible, so help your friends easily spot you in the crowd by flying some fun helium balloons from your car, or decorate your area with banners and streamers.
Glamgates are a lot like tailgates; they just have a little more style and substance. Are you planning to glamgate this season? Snap photos of your glamourous tailgates and share them on social with #howipamperedchef.