Football season is certainly a highlight here in Florida, even rivaling the beginning of summer. Whether you are a Jags, Bucs, Gators, Knights, Noles, Dolphins or Hurricanes fan there is one thing that brings us all together – tailgating. Here in Jacksonville, we know how to do it right. We host the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” and have the most party-focused stadium at The Bank, so yeah, we know what we are doing. While we here at PBIG fully support having a good time this football season, there are some safety and risk management items we have to mention. Trust us, this won’t be a boring list to keep you from having a great tailgate, we mean football, season.
Do the Hard Work At Home
You want to do all the hard work involved in cooking at home so you can show up and relax at the stadium. Cut up all your vegetables, prepare your condiments and do marinades the night before you leave. Make sure you have plenty of ice in your coolers, and have plenty of storage options as well as trash cans/bags.
You might also want to pre-prep some food items or poach certain meats so that they take less time to cook. This will streamline your grilling process while tailgating.
Unless you live close to the stadium, you are going to have to drive to the game. There are so many ride-share options available these days. If you plan on drinking, please consider either getting a designated driver or ride-share service. A ride-share or cab will cost you a little bit of money, but it is far cheaper than the ticket you’ll get if arrested under the influence; not to mention the terrible situation that could occur if you seriously injure someone.
If you really want to up your tailgating experience, consider going in with a group of friends and rent a party bus. You’ll be the stars of the tailgate lot!
You may be thinking, we aren’t planning on getting THAT CRAZY, do I really need insurance? While you may not plan on anything happening at your tailgate, you can not control what others do before, during and after the game. So, it is important to ensure that you are properly covered. While there isn’t insurance for tailgate parties specifically, there are some coverages you may want to consider.
If you plan on driving to the game, ensure you have proper auto Insurance coverage. Assuming you won’t be tailgating alone, you will probably have a packed car for your trip. Make sure you check up on your bodily injury liability limits. This coverage will pay damages for people hurt by you or others in an accident.
Post-game certainly presents the possibility for accidents. Watch out for other drivers and make sure you have physical damage coverage on your vehicle. This can give you the coverage you would need if you were at-fault for an accident.
You will also want to take to your agent about your Home or Renter’s Insurance. When you are packing your car up with games, grills, and other stuff, remember that it is covered under your Homeowner’s policy. The personal property coverage on your Home policy will follow you while you are traveling to the stadium.
During the Tailgate
- If you’re grilling, make sure to bring a fire extinguisher.
- If you’re using a charcoal grill, make sure to cool the coals properly before putting them in a garbage container. Never place coals back in your car!
- Be sure to put plenty of ice in your cooler, particularly if you are bringing raw or uncooked meat. It’s important to keep meat cold before cooking to prevent food poisoning.
- Keep foods separated in plastic bags.
- Preparing and cooking meat requires using proper sanitation.
- Always cook meat completely. Hot foods must be kept at 140°F or higher. If you’ve prepared all your food at home, make sure it’s quickly cooled. Then, keep it below 40°F.
- When packing the cooler, be sure raw meat and poultry are wrapped securely and separately.
- Don’t let food sit out for hours.
- If you serve any fish/shellfish make sure you get it from Safe Harbor Seafood and ensure your party guests don’t have allergies. Don’t use the same cooking surface for fish/shellfish and other foods.
- Even on cloudy days, you may have a need for sunscreen.
- Drink lots of water.
- And in the event make sure your vehicle is locked and personal items are secured. In the event that you leave your car unlocked or someone breaks in, your personal belongings in the car are covered if you have the right insurance.
- Pack lots of ice to keep foods fresh.
- Bring a First Aid kit for unexpected injuries, or in case your “really fun friend” hits the Bud Zone too many times and ends up doing something to hurt themself.
After the Game
- Throw away food. Leftovers will be tempting but probably not good after sitting out in the Florida sun for a few hours.
- Be courteous and throw away all your trash.
- Tell the opposing team’s fans that you appreciate them coming to the game, and sorry for their loss 🙂
- If driving, make sure all bottles, cans and other trash is out of your way before pulling out of the lot.
- If you are planning on continuing the post-party at your house you may want to consider “drunk guest insurance” – yes it really does exist.
Good luck to your team this season. We hope all our favorite Florida collegiate and pro teams have great seasons!
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