It’s October: time to dig out the grill, don your team colours and gather your crew for a tailgate. Football season is here!
Whether you’re planning an all-day parking lot extravaganza with a big group next door at McMahon Stadium for the Grey Cup or inviting people over to watch the pros at home, you’ll need the goods and gear to make sure your pre-game party runs smoothly.
To make your tailgate party a touchdown with game day fans, University District connected with Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, local influential food journalist and personality for tips and ideas designed to make you look and feel like a tailgating MVP.
From portable grills to oversized games and the small items you never knew you needed, let’s kick off the season with friends and family, and of course, football!
Tailgating can be (and often is) an all-day affair. Having the right gear can make or break your game day festivities. Whether you are cheering for the pros or your favourite collegiate team, spice up your tailgating setup and enjoy the event in style with these game day essentials.
What’s a tailgate without a grill? A small portable grill that’s robust and reliable can turn up the heat and cook up some great tailgate specialities, at home and on location. Don’t forget the necessary grilling accessories such as propane or charcoal, a lighter, grilling tools, lighter fluid and of course safety gear!
Tip: Visit Barbeques Galore and peruse its wide selection of grills.
Don’t sacrifice comfort at your tailgate this season. Take your cold beverage, sit back and relax. Collapsible chairs and stools are a staple at any football party and will become your closest confidant of comfort. When choosing chairs, think easy-to-use, sturdy, varying degrees of portable, and above all, actually nice to sit in!
Tip: Going all out? Add your team spirit with CFL team themed folding chairs. Get them here.
Whether you’re rooting for the home squad or cheering in enemy territory, let your super-fan out with team-inspired threads. Blankets and throws are a sure way to rep for your team while keeping yourself and guests cozy during Calgary’s cooler months.
Tip: Visit your CFL Team Store or Amazon and place an order for your very own team themed blankets and throws.
A good tailgating party needs a great cooler for your food and even more importantly for your beverages. Bring a cooler packed with your favourite drinks on ice. Don’t drop the ball! Be prepared with koozies, corkscrews, bottle openers and an additional cooler for those gameday delights as well.
From game-playing footballs to inflatable and cushy. Whatever your preference, grab a football, bring your winning spirit and have some fun! Add further flair with some outdoor games that are fun for all ages. Whether it’s a family affair or an adult-only shindig, bag toss, ring toss and giant Jenga are all great additions to any tailgate.
Tip: Stop in at your local SportChek or Canadian Tire store for a wide selection of footballs. Best part, they are both less than 5 minutes away from University District!
When it comes to tailgating, food is really the star of this event. Make game day a breeze and score big with these game-winning plays that offer the right balance between guilty pleasure foods and healthier options. Let’s take a look at Elizabeth’s suggestions!
Grilled sliders and hotdogs are always a crowd-pleaser and hearty addition to any football party, but who wants to have a boring old frankfurter on a bun? Go out of bounds and turn your hotdog into something special by wrapping it in bacon, or go the whole nine yards and stuff it with cheddar cheese too!
Get the recipe here.
A sweet and smoky staple that has earned its place as a pre-game essential, pulled pork hoagies might just be the MVP of tailgating. Give this classic a twist by topping it with a spicy and crunchy slaw. Your guests will love you for it.
Get the recipe here.
This is not your ordinary tailgate appetizer! If nachos and roll ups aren’t your jam, consider mac and cheese dippers at your party instead. Make a fresh batch of macaroni and cheese or use leftovers. Either way, they’ll become the number one draft pick among your guests!
Get the recipe here.
Photo Credit: Poko Popcorn
You can never have too much popcorn at a tailgate! Add a few flavours of popcorn to your party table. Set out tall, decorative jars in your favourite team’s signature colours or get creative and serve popcorn in a football snack helmets. Include a scoop in your serving vessel and offer small cups so guests can fill them with their preferred flavour.
Tip: Stop in at Kernels or Poko Popcorn in Market Mall for your tailgate popcorn needs!
Kick-off game day with these delicious football treats. A fun play on a classic sweet, these chocolaty football rice krispie desserts are fun for the kids and a touchdown for all your game day fans!
Get the recipe here.
Go beyond the standard fare of chips and salsa! Spice things up with Elizabeth’s go-to Buffalo Bean Dip that will keep your guests coming back for more. The tangy, spicy flavour of the hot pepper sauce is intercepted by the creamy bean and cheese base and is a serious tastebud touchdown. Go ahead, drop down and double up on this dip!
Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker
In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, white kidney or navy beans, buffalo-style hot pepper sauce and blue cheese dressing. Stir generously to distribute the cream cheese evenly.
Tip: Opt for a reduced fat cream cheese to lighten the dip for the health-conscious!
Step 2: Cover and cook
Turn the slow cooker on, cover and set it on low for 4 hours or until cheese is melted and the dip is hot and bubbling. If you are short on time, cook the dip on high for 2 hours, stirring one to two times to prevent the cheese from burning.
Step 3: Stir and serve
Serve warm with chips or veggies. If desired, sprinkle with green onion.
Tip: For an added zing, forgo standard tortilla chips and opt for lime flavoured tortilla chips. They will keep you satisfied through halftime!
*Recipe serves 6 to 8
Put on your team jersey and get ready to have some fun with family and friends with these football party essentials. Warning: you may adopt the new nickname “Tailgating Tony” and “Tailgating Teresa” with your new hosting skills! Happy tailgating everyone!
Are you a tailgate party extraordinaire? Have tips and recipes of your own to share? We would love to hear from you! Share your suggestions and recipes ideas with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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