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It’s easy to forget things at home when it comes to organizing your tailgate party in the Carolinas. Even the smallest things that slip your mind or you forget at home can be a make-it or break-it when it comes to ensuring that your celebration kicks off without a hitch. To help you stay organized and plan for the best tailgate party of all, we’ve rounded up a few expert tips and your very own checklist.

In the history of tailgate parties, there’s never been one that hasn’t had food. If you’re native to the region, you know that a variety of appetizers, finger foods and barbecue specials are always on tap when it comes to tailgate season. Here are a few fan-favorites you won’t want to forget:


  • Burgers, sausages, hot dogs, skewers — all of your staples for the grill. Expert tip: Marinate and skewer (if necessary) the meat the night before.
  • Toppings for burgers, hotdogs, or sandwiches. Be sure to slice and pack these the night before.
  • Chips and salsa because you can never go wrong with them.
  • Chili or soups for the cooler seasons.
  • Candy, cake, cookies or cupcakes for those that have a sweet tooth (or all four).
  • Condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish and hot sauce. Expert tip: Place them in a six-pack beer holder so they’re easy to access.
  • Salt and pepper for guests to season their food.

We all know that this is when the real fun begins — when you try out new beverages you’ve never had before and create new concoctions for your guests. We’ll let your Pinterest board inspire you on that front, but here are a list of the essentials that you’ll need when it comes to drinks:


  • Pack your cooler(s) full of canned beer or your favorite beverage. Expert tip: Label your coolers so guests don’t need to rummage through each one to find what they’re looking for.
  • Don’t forget to stop at your local grocer and pick up a couple bags of ice to keep things cool. Expert tip: You can also freeze some water bottles and use those too.
  • Bring some water so people stay hydrated all afternoon and evening long.
  • Set up a separate station that acts as a bar or consider hiring a bartender if you don’t want to be responsible for mixing drinks.
  • If you feel like getting creative, make some individually-packaged jello shots for your guests to enjoy.

You’ve prepped your food and packed your drinks, but this is almost more important than both of those things — it’s your set-up. Pay close attention to this list in particular and check off every item because each one is essential to the success of your tailgate party.

  • Remember to bring your grill, of course. It wouldn’t be a tailgate party without it.
  • Buy some paper cups, cutlery and plates so that you don’t have to wash any dishes at the end of the night.
  • Bring three coolers (one for cooked food, one for raw food and another for drinks).
  • Pack a portable speaker in the car so you can play your favorite hits.
  • Bring a folding table and chairs so you and your guests have something to sit and eat on.
  • Bring a garbage bag for easy disposal of items.
  • Grab a couple blankets or a fan (depending on the season) to either warm you up or cool you down.
  • Bring a portable battery in case your phone needs to charge.
  • Pack a bottle of sunscreen and bug spray because someone will thank you for having it on hand.
  • Bring a bottle of hand sanitizer so that guests can clean their hands.
  • Remember to buy a bag of charcoal for the grill and a metal bucket for glowing coals.
  • Pick up some lawn games like cornhole, bocce ball and beer pong (if you’re willing to bring an extra folding table). You can also borrow some of these games from a friend.
  • Pack a few umbrellas or a tent depending on the weather.
  • Remember your tailgate essentials like a lighter, bottle opener, mini flashlight, tooth picks, wooden skewers, wet wipes and serving utensils. Expert tip: Pack all of the items in a toolbox and keep them in your trunk.
  • Bring a first-aid kit just in case. If you don’t have this, some band-aids and disinfectant will do.
  • Always have a set of jumper cables sitting in your car just in case.

We want to see your tailgate party come to life. Tag us on Instagram or on Facebook for a chance to be featured on our social platforms. Next, learn how to host a winning super bowl party, Miami style. 


Photo courtesy of: Pinterest (Hero Image); Charlotte Magazine (Set-Up).


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Liz, Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


Liz, Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


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