As you paint up your face and throw on your favorite team’s jersey to head out to the tailgate before the game, you may wonder where this tradition came from. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “tailgate,” is usually football. It is only natural to think tailgating may have originated in some early college football games. While most of the tailgating reports are from football games, there was an even earlier recording of a “tailgate” in the mid 1800s. Like Civil War times. Normally, you wouldn’t think of war as a time to throw a big party. However, at the Battle of Bull Run in 1861 there is documented accounts of Union supports bringing baskets of food and cheering for “Big Blue.”
In 1869, the Rutgers v. Princeton football match-up brought in people with food, fun and drinks to prepare for the game on the tailgates of their wagons. Friendly rivalry brought out a camaraderie in fans and opened up a tradition of fun game preparation.
These days, tailgating is a crucial part to any football game. Many people take their tailgating serious, even going with themed parties and intense grilling set ups. It is a past-time based on tradition that has continued to grow throughout the years.
Good tailgating comes with food, beer, and socializing. So get your tent pitched and the grill fired up, it’s almost football season.