A Kick Off to Football and Tailgating Season
Football season is here again! People are getting ready for a fall full of noisy bars, neighborhood cookouts, and of course, tailgating. In New Orleans we have some pretty lenient open container laws, and drinking in public never seems to be an issue. But in the rest of the US open container laws are pretty strictly enforced, meaning tailgating is one of the only ways you other Americans can enjoy a beer in public (legally)! No tailgate is complete without a plethora of cheap beers, some charred hot dogs, and backyard games. Coupled with public drinking culture in New Orleans, tailgating is right up our alley. So while you’re knocking back a cold one before the big game and tossing bags in an attempt to beat your neighbor at Turtle Toss, keep in mind that tailgating is at least 100 years old!
Legend has it that the first tailgate took place before the first college football game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. While we doubt they had cornhole or beersbee back then, legend states that the football fans grilled sausages at the “tail-end” of their horses. Is that how tailgating gained its name? Maybe. But some people claim the first tailgate took place 8 years earlier! In the town of Manassas, Virginia.
The American Tailgaters Association claims that the first tailgate took place in the summer of ’61. This tailgate took place in Virginia, and it wasn’t a tailgate for a sporting event. It was a tailgate for the First Battle of Bull Run. It is said that Confederate and Union soldiers met on the battlefield with wagons full of whiskey and food before the battle.
Others contend that tailgating is even older, having roots in revolutionary France at the tail-end of the 18th century. Guillotine executions were held on Sundays and families would come in droves to see them. Programs were distributed among spectators listing the to-be-executed, and families would grab food and drinks at the Cabaret de la Guillotine before attending the events.
While there is debate regarding the time and place of the first tailgate, it’s pretty clear that it has some pretty old roots. We hope y’all have a great rest of your summer and enjoy football season!