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Was Tailgating Invented in Ancient Rome?

Heya! Did Romans invent tailgating?! Learn the story behind the popular party tradition!

Was Tailgating Invented in Ancient Rome?

Where Was Tailgating Invented?

If you're a fan of American football or other sports, you're probably familiar with the tailgating tradition. It's the practice of gathering in the parking lot of the stadium before a game, grilling food, drinking beer, playing games, and socializing with other fans. Tailgating has become an integral part of American culture, but where did it all start?

Defining Tailgating

Tailgating is essentially a pre-game party, where fans gather in the parking lot outside the stadium to eat, drink and socialize. The term "tailgating" comes from the practice of opening the tailgate of a pickup truck and using the flat surface as a table. However, today it's not limited to just pickup trucks but can be found in many different vehicles like cars, SUVs, and even bicycles.

The party atmosphere of tailgating is highly infectious. People come together to share food, drinks, and good times. It's a time to bond with fellow fans, celebrate wins, and commiserate losses. For many, it's an opportunity to experience the excitement and build up before the big game.

The First Tailgate

The first instance of tailgating can be traced back to a Yale University football game in 1904. The school's alumni association hosted a picnic before the game in the parking area, which was known as the "tailgate." At that time, the tradition was focused mainly on food and drink; spectators would sit on the back of their wagons or vehicles to consume meals and drinks before the game.

Soon, tailgating caught on, and people began to drive their vehicles to stadiums specifically for tailgating. This was the origin of organized tailgating in America. The culture soon spread from football games to baseball, NASCAR, and other sports events. Today, tailgating is more than just food and drink; it's a full-blown event with elaborate setups and even entertainment.

Evolution of Tailgating

Since its inception, tailgating has evolved to become a highly enjoyable social event. It has transcended the boundaries of sport and age, bringing people of all walks of life together. People now tailgate out of their cars, campers, and trailers. Tailgating parties today offer seemingly endless food, drink, and fun activities such as yard games, music, and sometimes even live performances.

The evolution of tailgating has involved several elements. Today’s tailgating involves rivalry cooking competitions, grilling, customized vehicles, team loyalty, custom tents, banners, and some even involve art installations. Companies are also recognizing the value of tailgating and sponsoring events and contests for tailgaters. The environments at tailgating parties today are more elaborate and themed. Celebrations like homecoming, holidays, and other events are brought into the tailgating culture.

In conclusion, tailgating is an integral part of the American game-day experience. It has become so much more than just eating and drinking before the game; it's a time to come together with fellow fans, bond, have fun and celebrate just being alive. People take their tailgating seriously, and with each passing year, it has evolved to become even more creative and entertaining.

Tailgating is a beloved American pastime, but have you ever wondered where it was invented? Check out our pillar article to learn more about the history of tailgating.

Where Was Tailgating Invented?

Tailgating has become an integral part of American culture, but where did it all begin? While the exact origin of tailgating is unknown, many believe that the tradition began in the 19th century, as college football games became more popular.

According to some sources, the first instance of tailgating occurred at the great Yale-Harvard game in 1869. Fans arrived early to enjoy food and beverages before the game, and some even brought their own horse-drawn carriages with elaborate picnics.

Since then, tailgating has evolved into a unique cultural phenomenon that takes place across America. Whether it's at a professional football game or a local high school game, tailgating brings people together to enjoy good food, good company, and of course, sports.

Tailgating Across America

While tailgating is now a widespread tradition, it's interesting to see how it varies across different regions of the country. Here's a look at the three main regions of the US and how they approach tailgating.

Tailgating in the Midwest

The Midwest is known for its passionate sports fans, and tailgating is a big part of that culture. States such as Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio have some of the most dedicated tailgaters in the country.

In Wisconsin, tailgating at Packers games is practically a religion. Fans arrive early to set up their grills and cook bratwursts, a local delicacy. The tradition of "Lambeau Field-style tailgating" has even spread beyond Wisconsin, as Packers fans across the country embrace the pre-game ritual.

In Iowa, tailgating is a way to celebrate local culture. At the University of Iowa, fans enjoy food and beverages while wearing black and gold, the school's colors. At Iowa State University, fans participate in the "Tent City" tradition, where they set up camp and spend the weekend tailgating before the big game.

In Ohio, tailgating is a way to bond with fellow fans. At Ohio State University, fans gather in parking lots before the game to enjoy food and drinks. The Buckeye Bash is a popular pre-game event that features live music and family-friendly activities.

Tailgating in the South

The South is known for its hospitality, and tailgating is no exception. Tailgating in the southeastern states is a deep-rooted tradition that often includes barbecue and college football.

In Alabama, fans of the Crimson Tide take tailgating seriously. At the University of Alabama, fans gather in the Quad to grill out and enjoy the festivities. The "Elephant Stomp" is another popular tradition, where fans march to the stadium together while singing the school's fight song.

In Georgia, tailgating at a University of Georgia football game is a way of life. Fans arrive early to set up their tents and cook up traditional Southern fare such as fried chicken and biscuits. The "Dawg Walk" is another highlight of the pre-game festivities, where fans cheer on the team as they enter the stadium.

In Louisiana, tailgating at a New Orleans Saints game is a unique experience. Fans set up their grills outside of the Superdome and cook up Cajun cuisine such as jambalaya and gumbo. The "Who Dat" chant is a popular way for fans to show their support for the team.

Tailgating in the West

The West has its own unique take on tailgating, incorporating aspects such as wine-tasting and tailgating at ski resorts.

In California, wine-tasting has become part of the tailgating experience. At Stanford University, fans gather to enjoy local wines before the game. At the University of California, tailgaters enjoy views of San Francisco Bay while sipping wine.

In Colorado, tailgating at ski resorts is a popular winter activity. At Arapahoe Basin, tailgaters set up grills and cook up hot dogs and burgers while enjoying skiing and snowboarding. The resort even offers a "Grill on the Hill" package that includes a lift ticket and parking spot for tailgating.

In Washington, tailgating at a Seattle Seahawks game is a way to embrace the Pacific Northwest spirit. Fans cook up fresh seafood such as salmon while enjoying views of Puget Sound. The "12th Man" tradition, where fans cheer on the team as if they were on the field, is a popular way to show support.

In Conclusion

While the exact origins of tailgating may be unknown, it's clear that it's become an essential part of American culture. Whether it's in the Midwest, the South, or the West, tailgating brings people together to celebrate their love of sports and community.

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International Tailgating

Tailgating is not only an American tradition but has also become increasingly popular in other parts of the world. Let's take a closer look at the emergence of tailgating in Europe, Canada, and Australia.


Although tailgating in Europe may not be as widespread as in the US, it has been a part of the culture for years, especially for soccer and rugby matches. Europeans typically enjoy pre-match festivities at pubs or bars rather than in parking lots, but tailgating has gained popularity in recent years.

In England, supporters of soccer teams have been known to set up makeshift BBQ grills and picnic tables outside the stadiums before the games. They enjoy beer and food while discussing tactics and chanting their team's songs. In Scotland, fans of rugby union and rugby league have been tailgating for years before games. They gather around the stadium with their food and drinks to show their support for their favorite teams.

In Italy, tailgating is known as "The Fifth Quarter" and is the post-game party where fans gather for a meal and a drink after the game. This tradition dates back to the early 1900s when fans would share a meal with the players after the game.


Tailgating in Canada is similar to that of the United States and has become a staple for hockey and football games. Canadian tailgaters usually gather in stadium parking lots, sharing food and drinks before the games. Sometimes, they even set up games like cornhole or beer pong.

In Calgary, Alberta, the Calgary Stampede is an annual event where tailgating has become an integral part of the festivities. People gather before the rodeo events with their BBQ grills and lawn chairs to share food, drinks, and conversation with fellow rodeo fans.

Tailgating has even made its way to Canadian universities. Fans of college football come together to tailgate before the games, making it a memorable experience for the students and alumni.


Australian Rules football and cricket are two of the most popular sports in Australia, and tailgating has become increasingly popular for these events. Aussies have put their own spin on the tradition, with many utilizing their utes (utility vehicles) to set up tailgate parties.

The "Aussie Barbeque" is a big part of tailgating culture in Australia. Fans gather around the grills with their mates and enjoy a cold beer and some delicious food. The atmosphere is festive, and everyone is friendly and welcoming.

In Melbourne, the Australian Grand Prix attracts a lot of tailgaters. People come from all over the country to set up their tailgate parties, and it's become somewhat of a competition to host the most impressive party.

Overall, tailgating has become an international tradition and is enjoyed by sports enthusiasts all over the world. It's a great way to bring people together and create a sense of community, no matter where you are.

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