ISES Quick Tips For Event Planners: September

Tips for hosting a tailgating event for teams, customers or clients.

Tailgating parties can be a great way to celebrate with your team, treat customers to a unique experience or to just celebrate with friends and family. But, here’s a few tips to make your tailgating experience simple, safe and FUN!
Know the rules – Most venues have very strict rules and regulations regarding where and when you can tailgate prior to—and after—the game. You’ll want to know what parking lots or areas are open for tailgating, what is allowed in that area and what time you’re allowed to arrive. Most parking lots that allow tailgating open at specific times and many are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Alternatively, many venues allow groups to purchase a reserved tailgating spot for a fee.
Ensure you have enough space – If you’re tailgating in a parking lot, keep in mind that you’ll have somewhat limited space unless you pre-purchased additional areas. If you have a large group that needs space to expand, look for places where you can rent a larger area.
Don’t overthink food and drink – Most people are expecting traditional tailgating food items. Just look for simple ways you can make tried-and-true favorites more special. Or look for food ideas that allow your guests to “build their own,” which makes it easier to accommodate people with specific dietary needs and makes the guests feel more engaged in the experience. Always bring extra plates, napkins, cups and service utensils – you’ll inevitably need them.
Do remember food safety – Outside? Hot? Make sure that you have a way to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. It’s also a good idea to consider where and how the food will be distributed. If you’ll be outside in the elements, it might be worth arranging a tent to cover the food.
Be responsible about alcohol – If you’re serving booze at your event, it is your responsibility to ensure that your guests are served appropriately and you monitor distribution. Don’t assume someone will make good choices and have someone there who will be in charge of making sure that people don’t overindulge.
Have activities – Your guests might be at your tailgating event for several hours, so provide them with some activities to do while they’re there. Outdoor games like beanbag toss or ladder golf are always fun and interactive for your guests. If there will be children attending, consider providing activities to keep them engaged.
Keep it clean – Most tailgating lots provide ample garbage bins, but they won’t necessarily be near your area. Bring garbage bags with you and be sure to fully clean up your area before leaving for the day.
Jodi Collen,CSEP is the director of events and conference planning for Augsburg College where she and her team plan and manage 400 events each year. Collen is a past president of the ISES Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter and is the current international president of the International Special Events Society.

The International Special Events Society (ISES) is the world's largest community of event professionals with over 5,000 members worldwide. The Minnesota Chapter of ISES is comprised of leading professionals in every aspect of the event products and services industries. For more information on how an ISES professional can help you with your event, please contact