How to Celebrate a Late Thanksgiving with a Tailgate Party in Tampa Bay
Thanksgiving and football are as American as peanut butter and jelly, and even better when they go together. Chances are, you’re going to watch football after Thanksgiving dinner anyway, right? So why not bring Thanksgiving dinner to the Sunday game too? With some minor creative tweaks in food preparation and decorating, you can celebrate Thanksgiving in style at Raymond James Stadium.
Move over burgers and hot wings — it’s time to make room for turkey. Let the amateur chef in you run wild with ways to make turkey and cranberry sauce tailgate friendly. You can try popping some turkey wings and drumsticks in the crock pot with a couple cans of cranberry sauce and letting it slow-cook the night before or you can make your own Thanksgiving paninis with sliced turkey breast, jellied cranberry sauce and a dollop of gravy. Another Thanksgiving staple is stuffing, but a glass casserole dish may be less than convenient. Instead, use some muffin or cupcake liners and fill them with single servings of stuffing. This will make it easier to transport, serve and eat. Then there’s the matter of sweet potatoes or yams. Again, a casserole dish could spell trouble. Instead, try something a little different, like slicing up yams ahead of time and cooking them on the grill. You can even bring along a pre-made topping made from cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and anything else you and your family like on your sweet potatoes. No Thanksgiving feast is complete without dessert, so top off your meal with easy homemade desserts. You can make single-serve cheesecakes in cupcake liners and decorate them with red and black icing, or go even more traditional with red-and-black-frosted pumpkin cupcakes.
Bring the Whole Family
Every Thanksgiving celebration is about family, so bring the kids! Raymond James Stadium is very family friendly, particularly in lots 2, 3 and 4. If there is a tradition you normally do with your family, bring it along to the tailgate. If your family puts on a Thanksgiving skit, sings special songs or dresses up as pilgrims, work it into your tailgate party. Don’t forget to also bring some traditional tailgating games such as cornhole, ladder golf, Frisbee, Texas horseshoes and — for the grownups — beer pong.
Instead of the usual yard-line-decorated plastic table cloth and red and black plates, cups and plasticware, give your tailgate decor a Thanksgiving theme. Use a traditional cloth tablecloth instead of plastic one. Go to the nearest dollar store and pick up some disposable plates, cups and plasticware that are decorated with turkeys and fall colors instead of Bucs colors. However, don’t give up your Bucs decorations entirely. Part of the fun of a tailgate party is decking out your vehicle in team spirit, and this can be especially fun for kids. Break out your flags, decals and other Bucs decorations and show everyone how thankful you are for your favorite team.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
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. 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 Examiner.com.