Carolina Panthers fans take tailgating very seriously. The rule of thumb around Bank of America Stadium is that if the sun has risen on the day of a home game and you’re not already at your mobile BBQ pit raking the coals, then you’re late to the party!
There are many rules of etiquette for Panthers fans who want to be a part of the tailgating experience. Whether you are an invited guest or a walk in, one of the most important rules to remember is to be a good sport. Don’t go around saying negative things about Charlotte or the Panthers or try to talk smack if you are a fan of the opposing team. Just relax, enjoy the great outdoors and mingle with the crowds in celebration of all things football.
Other ways to be a gracious tailgating guest include:
No mooching. Unless you have specifically been invited to join a certain party of people, do not expect anyone else to feed you or offer you a beverage of any kind for free. Bring your own food and drink in portable coolers and backpacks with extras to share in case you settle down near a friendly group that wants to mix and mingle.
Do not assume there will be a place to cook your food. There are no random grills around the stadium and it is considered bad etiquette to ask another tailgater to share their grill unless it has been pre-arranged. Bring your own grill and double check that the lot you are parked in allows open flames.
Do not overstay your welcome. While it is fine to walk around and visit with all of the various campsites, especially the elaborate setups with lots of people around them, avoid parking yourself on their furniture, using their tables and chairs or lingering under their tents for extended periods of time. Tailgaters become resentful when strangers ‘make themselves at home’ at their site, and if you do this, you will earn yourself a bad reputation among the tailgaters in the area.
Drink responsibly. Gracious tailgating guests do not drink so much that they end up stumbling around and throwing up on Aunt Barbara’s picnic table. There are many families with small children enjoying the pre-game festivities and excessive inebriation would be frowned upon. Pace yourself and remember that it is illegal to walk around with an open container in Charlotte.
Have a potty plan. While there are numerous restaurants and sports bars surrounding the stadium, it is safe to assume that their bathrooms are for customers only. While it might be tempting to walk up to a tailgating party who happen to be lounging in front of a bus or recreational vehicle, chances are that you will be denied. Would you want a whole herd of strangers to use your bathroom? I didn’t think so. Try to locate a fast food restaurant or plan on spending some money to purchase an item in a store or gas station for restroom privileges.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
S.L. Schmitz is a published author, specializing in the speculative, mythpunk, and horror genres. Schmitz recently resigned her position as a Board Member and Social Media Manager of Dark Continents Publishing in order to work with a small group of entrepreneurs to create a new publishing company. When time permits, she participates in a variety of writing and horror conventions. She is an active member of such author affiliations as , , the North Carolina Writer’s Organization, the Charlotte Writer’s Club, North Carolina Reading Association, and the Union Monroe Reading Association. Visit her website at , follow her on twitter @sl_schmitz, and like her author page on Facebook. Her novel is titled Let It Bleed, published via Dark Continents Publishing, and is available wherever books are sold. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.