A Brief History On The Traditions Of Tailgating And Tent Structures

Structure Tents: History of Tailgating

Anyone who believes that food experiences that build community are limited to just family meals with peaceful-yet-lively discussions of world current events and farm-to-table dinners, then I have just one word for you: tailgating. Sports fans and good food people haven’t always had significant overlap. Just take a kale salad to the next Super Bowl party that you attend and you will see what I’m talking about. Good sports and good food both require your full attention, and divided passion is something that cannot stand. However, just as over the last decade the good food movement has turned mainstream, sports fans have also upped their game in the culinary department. For example, it is obvious at stadiums such as where the Washington Nationals play, and you see stalls that are selling DC microbrews, specialty gluten-free Kosher foods, cupcakes, pad thai, and shawarma. If you look around during a tailgate you can see all of the organizations attending under some form of structure tent that provides shade and protection from the hot sun.

Sports Fans

It is obvious in American tailgating that sports fans have an increased awareness of good food. Tailgating is a century-old, time-honored tradition of gathering together to drink, eat and gather as a community over sports prior to the game, as well as during and after it. These days, if you stroll through a ballpark or stadium parking lot you will see the back flaps of trucks unhinged and full of feasts that go beyond Bud, tiny grills and chips (although I won’t turn any of those down myself). These days it is more common to see artisanal cheese, exotic dips, and thick-cut heritage meats being wash down with local microbrews at tailgates.

Food Renaissance

The food renaissance in tailgating shouldn’t come as a surprise since according to John Sherry, a professor at Notre Dame, the roots of this ritual come from the fall harvest festivals. Sherry studied tailgating for two years and found that the custom overlaps with the fall harvest (with a majority of American farmers’markets offering tomatoes right next to the winter squash during September and October) and it isn’t a coincidence. People used to celebrate the end of summer by having one final party before winter set in and a blowout seasonal feast. For many people in modern times, football – and less commonly rugby, soccer, lacrosse, or baseball 0 have become incidental to the actual food party. It was found by one report that up to 35 percent of all tailgaters never go inside of the stadium to attend the game.

First Battle Of Bull Run

There is a link to tailgating from our more pedantic and recent history to the 1861 First Battle of Bull Run. This was the first major battle of the U.S. Civil War, and people from both sides traveled from Washington DC to Manassas, Virginia in order to cheer on either the Confederates or the Union. For anybody who happened to sleep through their high school history lesson, the Confederate won that day, which kicked off years of bitter fighting. Whatever it happens to be called, tailgating is simply a traveling cocktail party which can be crashed by anyone. Media critics frequently note that the only programs that are watched on television these days are showed that, if missed in real time, would create feelings of isolation for viewers. So basically, sports and a live version of Sound of Music.


I will choose sports. Not just due to having recently visited the outstanding Trapp Lager Brewery and discovering that Maria von Trapp wasn’t in love with Georg, but instead was tricked into agreeing to marry him while she was cleaning a chandelier, and also that Hedwig was Friedrich’s real name.

Tailgating Brings People And Food Together

Good food, like sports, is best experienced in real time and live, and tailgating at its finest brings people together who are devoted to both. Sports fans increasingly respect good food, and people who love good food can return this favor by loving the comforts and enjoyment that tailgating can offer which are similar to food: connection and sense of community within an increasingly disconnected world.

Using A StructureTent For Tailgating

Let’s be honest here. In Texas, we are still experiencing hot weather when football season begins. One way of standing out and staying cool in the shade is to have structure tents to keep out of the sun. Various event tents are offered by Temporary Warehouse Structures for various occasions. Be sure to contact us about renting one for your next tailgating event!

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