Rules of the Road: The 10 Commandments of Tailgating in Tampa

rwh6228 Rules of the Road: The 10 Commandments of Tailgating in Tampa

Enjoy Bucs tailgating with the whole family (Credit: Robert Herrera)

Think you know how to be the ultimate tailgate fan at the next Bucs game? Bucs tailgaters weighed in on what it takes to throw an incredible tailgate party. Read on to see if you know the 10 commandments of Tampa Bay tailgating.

1. Thou shalt arrive as early as possible to begin the tailgate. This first commandment comes from Maegan Fader of Lutz. Anyone who has spent time driving around Tampa knows that even on a good day, traffic congestion can be inconvenient at best. If you wait too long to get to Raymond James, you could spend more time in your car than tailgating with your friends and family. Besides the traffic, you also risk getting stuck with a less-than-ideal spot on the lot for your tailgate. The lots around the stadium open three and a half hours before kickoff — that’s 9:30 a.m. for most games — so be sure to get there well before the game starts.

2. Thou shalt not engage in smack talk with fans from the visiting team. This commandment, which comes from Mike Halterman of Tampa, is not to be taken lightly. No matter how much you dislike the opposing team, remember the playground rules from your youth: if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. Visiting fans are paying guests just like you, so be courteous. Raymond James Stadium has strict policies and will remove guests who engage in rough-housing, harassment or profanity without refund.

3. Thou shalt wear every bit of team spirit possible. Maegan Fader is serious about showing team spirit, as many Bucs fans are. Jerseys are great, but why stop there? Face paint, colored hair spray, bandanas, socks, jewelry, leis and beads, beads, beads will make you stand out from the crowd and show your team spirit.

4. Thou shalt decorate your tailgate accordingly. If you’re going all out with your apparel and accessories, you’ll want to decorate your tailgate to match. Flags, banners and window paint are all quick and easy ideas. If you’re looking to go all out, you can also buy inflatable decorations, inflatable punching bags and colored lights to go around your vehicle.

5. Thou shalt bring a tent. Melissa Bucholdt is a Tampa native and no stranger to the unrelenting Florida sun. Bring a tent and shield yourself from those powerful rays or even rain. Just remember that tents larger than 10-by-10 feet are not permitted.

6. Thou shalt wear sunscreen. Even if you bring a tent, you’re most likely not going to lounge under it the whole time. Tailgate parties are full of opportunity for games, cooking and celebration, so protect your skin with some SPF 30.

7. Thou shalt bring a game. This commandment comes from James Grant of Spring Hill. Some of the most popular games at tailgate parties are beer pong, cornhole and bean bag toss. You can also incorporate simple games like catch, ladder ball and tag if you’re bringing the kids. If you’re tailgating with other families, you can truly make it a day to remember by organizing carnival-style games.

8. Thou shalt have lots of beer. Michelle Justiniano, all the way from Ocala, is just saying what the rest of us are thinking: don’t forget the beer. Remember to enjoy responsibly.

9. Thou shalt bring beer koozies. This commandment comes from Melissa Bucholdt. Even if you bring that fantastic tent, it’s still going to heat up around the stadium pretty quickly. Beer koozies will keep your beer cooler for longer while you’re having fun in the sun.

10. Thou shalt bring lots of junk food. Ken Roe from Tampa knows it’s not a tailgate party without the junk food. Nachos, wings, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and wraps are all popular choices. Also, have a selection of snacks available like chips, pretzels, nuts, cookies or any kind of finger food.

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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