If you’re a Washington Redskins fan, then you know that early September is the most wonderful time of the year (sorry Santa). Whether you’re heading to the stadium or to your best pal’s house to catch the game, be sure to pack these tailgating items.
1. Protect yourself from the elements. Any long-term DC resident will tell you that the weather here can be pretty unpredictable at times. Whether it’s a bright, sunshiny day or Old Man Winter makes a surprise appearance, a tailgating tent or canopy is essential. Purchase a generic one from a sporting goods store or pick one out with the Redskins logo on it. Place folding chairs and a table underneath to make it feel more like home. Don’t forget tablecloths, lights/lanterns and a wind screen to keep the gusts out.
2. Have a ball. Now that your tailgating tent is all set up, it’s time to relax and have some fun. Games like cornhole, ladderball, horseshoes and beer pong (for the adults, of course) are a great way to kill time before kick-off. Are you on a budget? Bring a football, volleyball, badminton set or frisbee. Other affordable forms of entertainment include a deck of cards, board games, crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Listen to tunes on your mp3 player or catch other NFL games on your television. Don’t forget to pack a power generator.
3. Chow down. Whether it’s hotdogs and hamburgers or your famous seven-layer dip, food is essential to any tailgating party. Use coolers and temperature-controlled totes to transport food and drinks as well as food accessories like plates, cups, silverware, napkins, serving utensils and grilling gear. When using a grill, be sure to place it at least six feet away from groups of people and combustible materials. Never grill on or in your vehicle (especially on the back of a truck bed) and never leave the grill unattended. Don’t forget to pack a couple of trash bags.
4. Be prepared for emergencies. Did you know that charcoal can burn for more than 12 hours? Ensure any item used for cooking has completely cooled down prior to disposing. If using a charcoal grill, close the vents as soon as you’re done cooking to block oxygen from further fueling the flames and to allow the grill to cool down. Never throw ashes away in a paper bag or plastic trash can. Keep emergency equipment such as a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit on hand at all times.
5. Show your support. If anything, the most important item to have at a tailgating party is something that shows your support for the Washington Redskins. Whether it’s a hat, jersey, sweatshirt or a flag/banner, be sure to show up at the party flaunting your team gear. It also helps to know the team’s cheer song, “Hail to the Redskins,” since we’ll be singing that a lot this year. Hail yeah!
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA, covering Travel & Outdoors and all things entertaining. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.