National Tailgating Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in September and takes place on September 3 this year. Observed on the first Saturday in September, National Tailgating Day is a holiday that encourages sports fans to attend tailgate parties. Tailgating is the custom of gathering outside stadiums before the kickoff of a game, usually football. There is no organized setup and these often take place at the tailgate of a pickup truck or the trunk of a car. Tailgating includes a few traditions such as grilling, while chili-making competitions and recipe challenges encourage friendly competition. If you have a favorite team and want to throw a tailgate party — this holiday is the perfect day to do it.
History of National Tailgating Day
National Tailgating Day was created by Luke Lorick in 2016. Currently the president of the Tailgating Challenge, he founded this holiday out of his love for tailgate parties. The best way to celebrate this holiday is to load up the truck, or whichever vehicle is available, with food, beverage, and other party essentials, and head out to the tailgate venue. Football fans often arrive a few hours early, get hyped up about the game, enjoy a meal, and have a good time.
It is uncertain when the first tailgate party took place, but there are several contenders to claim this title. Some suggest that the first tailgaters were the spectators at the Battle of Bull Run in 1861. Onlookers arrived with bottles of claret and picnic baskets brimming with food to watch the two sides face each other.
Today, tailgating takes place before football matches. The overall consensus is that the first football game to take place in the U.S. was between Rutgers and Princeton Universities on November 6, 1869. On the day of the event, fans reached the venue early to stir excitement and enjoy the company of their friends.
National Tailgating Day timeline
It is speculated that the first tailgate party is started by the Romans before and after chariot races.
Supporters of the Union Army show up with food and drink for the soldiers.
The first football game takes place in the U.S. on November 6.
The first National Tailgating Day is celebrated on September 3.
National Tailgating Day FAQs
When did tailgating start?
The first tailgate’ is believed to have taken place in 1861 during the Battle of Bull Run.
Is tailgating a tradition?
As the temperature becomes cool, football fans look forward to tailgating almost as much as the games themselves. Tailgating is a U.S. tradition, and we savor it every year.
What is tailgating at football?
Tailgate parties take place outside stadiums in parking lots, mostly before or after games and music concerts.
National Tailgating Day Activities
Play tailgate games
Plan some fun activities. There are many games you can play at a tailgate. The top three are beer pong, cornhole, and ladder ball.
Get ready for a tailgate
Pack your favorite food and beverages, carpool with friends, and head over to the decided up tailgate meeting point. Check you have your grilling accessories and make sure that you have all you need for a successful party.
Share on social media
You can’t have a great tailgate without showing it off. Share it online using the hashtag #NationalTailgatingDay
5 Facts About Tailgating You Probably Didn’t Know
It’s very common
Nearly 80% of the U.S. population tailgates.
There's an age bracket for tailgating
About 64% of tailgaters are between the ages of 25 to 44.
Tailgaters just can’t stop
Many fans tailgate at least eight times a season.
The big league
Reliant Stadium in Texas is the top venue for tailgating.
Food and beverage consumption are high
The sales from food and beverage for tailgates are estimated at $35 billion.
Why We Love National Tailgating Day
It’s a fantastic tradition
Tailgating is not your average get-together. It is a specific gathering before a football game when the air is crisp and cold, and the smell of autumn is present. Tailgating is memorable and we love it.
It generates excitement
Tailgating creates hype for the game, and the stakes become higher as bets are placed. It inspires fans to take pride in their teams.
It’s an All-American activity
Tailgating is all-American, and a rite of passage for many youngsters. Any holiday that encompasses the American spirit gets our vote.
National Tailgating Day dates