By JADE GONZALEZ, Staff Columnist

Last weekend was one of the biggest games in the country – Michigan versus Michigan State.

This game brings people from all over the country wearing their green or maize to cheer on their team. Besides the actual football game, this event brings a whole slew of activities for the fans to partake in.

One of the most popular activities football brings is tailgating. The Michigan/Michigan State game was no different. With tailgates covering miles of land in Ann Arbor last Friday, the question that comes to everyone’s mind is, “How do we make our tailgate better?”

At a typical tailgate you’ll see numerous tents, grills, games, and thanks to today’s technology, even televisions. But what kind of things can a tailgate have to make it stand out?

The first thing that brings attention to a tailgate is the food and drinks. The popular choices for food are of course, anything you can grill. The Ann Arbor Golf Course, where most of the tailgating takes place, smells of hotdogs and hamburgers from dawn till dusk.

“A grill and football just seem to go hand in hand. Nothing like eating a hotdog while getting to watch my boys demolish the Spartans,” says Ashley Robinson, a student at University of Michigan – Dearborn.

This time around there was some more unique takes on the food and drinks at the tailgating. One of the new food choices this year was “Vodka Gummy Bears.” They are just like they sound; take your choice of alcohol and let the gummy bears soak them up over night. And there you have it, an adult take on a childhood favorite.

A lot of the tailgates also had mini buffets of all different sweets lined up with décor to match their team. Most of the tailgates were welcoming people from other sites to join in on their decorative spreads. But watch out if you’re from the opposing team, the tailgaters might not be so friendly.

The next step in making a great tailgate is the decorations. The entire point of tailgating is to cheer on your team while having a great time with family and friends.

The tailgates come up with all different ways to decorate their tents, cars, and RV’s. The most popular decoration at the Michigan/Michigan State game was the tents. There were tents with the famous “S” or “M” plastered all over. Streamers were stretched from cars to tents.

Some tailgaters even went as far as painting their car the colors of the football team. Now if that isn’t a true fan, I don’t know what is.

The last step to a perfect tailgate is the entertainment. There are numerous games that are played during tailgates for people of all ages. The games can range from your typical card games, to drinking games and even to the more physically involved games like good ole’ catch.

Some of the most popular games at the Michigan/Michigan State tailgate were “Bags”, where the object is to throw little sand bags onto a target board, and “Hillbilly Golf” (Ladder Toss), where the object is to get your pieces on the steps of the mini-ladder a few feet ahead. The drinking games were very popular as well. Two of the most popular games being played seemed to be “Flip Cup” as well as the crowds all time favorite, “Beer Pong.”

Along with all the games and food, a majority of the tailgates had televisions set up playing the big game, as well as music blasting from speakers to get the crowd going. This year it seemed if your tailgate was without a television, you left your site for someone that did. The television was the key to having a great tailgate site.

Tailgating has become an event that everyone looks forward to for football games. Some people prepare for weeks on their tailgate alone, just to make sure it’s the best one. Everything from their outfits to their food choices is carefully planned. Each year tailgates are becoming more elaborate thanks to the advancement of technology and above all, the fans of football.

So how are you going to make your tailgate stand out next year?

  • Paul Griffith

    Sounds like the Wolverines and the Spartans do it right.