Fans of all ages can enjoy tailgating for Bucs games (Credit: Doris Irizarry)

Fans of all ages can enjoy tailgating for Bucs games (Credit: Doris Irizarry)

If there is one thing Bucs fans know how to do, it’s how to throw an unforgettable tailgate party. If you’re planning on being the next legendary tailgater or just heading to the game with the family, you’re going to need more than just tasty food and beer to make an impression. Here are a few things you’ll want to bring along for the ride.

Handheld fans: Beat the heat with a hand-held, battery-operated fan. For under $10, you can have your own continuous breeze. If you feel like going all out, you can even buy a fan attached to a water bottle for just a few dollars more. Fill it with ice cold water and you’ve got a nice cool mist any time.

Umbrellas or tents: What fun is tailgating if you keep ducking into your car to escape the sun? Bring along a large beach umbrella or a tent and you’ll be made in the shade. Just be sure that your tent is smaller than 10-by-10 feet to abide by Raymond James Stadium’s regulations.

Rain gear: If you’ve been living in Florida for more than a few months, you know that rain can magically appear without notice. Be sure to pack some ponchos and umbrellas for you and your guests and also bring a tarp or other waterproof covering that you can throw over your food table in a pinch. Chances are, the rain will pass quickly and you can go right back to partying.

Grilling supplies: If you plan on barbecuing, you need more than just the grill. Don’t forget utensils like a spatula, grill scraper, barbecue fork and tongs. You may even want to bring some degreaser and grill cleaner so you don’t have to deal with a stuck-on mess when you get home.

Picnic supplies: Whether you choose disposable or reusable plates and utensils, be sure to pack enough for everyone plus a few extras. Besides plates and utensils, you’ll need cups, napkins and serving utensils. Also bring blankets and towels to sit on, especially if children will be present at the tailgate. Most importantly, have a couple of sturdy trash bags on hand to tidy up afterwards.

Decorations: Decorating can be fun, and besides that, there’s no better way to show your team spirit. It’s also a way to get kids involved. The Bucs store offers flags, banners, decals and beads. You can also create your own decorations with the Bucs team colors — red, black and white. If you want to make some memories, propose a decorating contest with friends or family who will be tailgating in separate vehicles.

Music: Whether you bring a portable CD player or an mp3 player, have your playlist picked out ahead of time. You’ll be so busy grilling up burgers and entertaining your friends that you won’t have time to be a DJ as well.

First-aid kit: A first-aid kit is often forgotten, but you always want to have a freshly packed supply in case of emergency. Gauze, bandages, ointment and over-the-counter pain medicine can fix just about any ailment at a tailgate. In addition, throw in some sunscreen and insect repellent so you can focus on the game instead of where to buy aloe lotion or how many mosquito bites you have.

Miscellaneous: Okay, so maybe you don’t need a beer koozie, but they’re nice to have. Add a little extra pizzazz to your party with zany items like beer belts, portable games like cornhole and shuffleboard and inflatable Bucs decorations. Your guests will never be bored.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at


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