Whether you are tailgating at an away game or in the parking lots of Bank of America Stadium, Panther fans know that it takes careful planning and preparation to get ready for the big football celebration. After all the goodies have been purchased and the propane tank filled, there are still some good practices to keep in mind in order to stay safe and happy while tailgating in Charlotte.
Grilling: Clean the surface of your grill to eliminate sickness-causing bacteria and any substances which may have made it onto the grate during transportation. Be vigilant about parking in a lot that permits fires and keep the grill a safe distance from your vehicle and children. Make sure your coolers have plenty of ice to keep dairy and meat items at appropriate temperatures and never forget to have a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit on hand in the event of a disaster.
Personal safety: Although southerners are renowned for their hospitality, that does not mean that tailgaters should not be careful about their personal possessions. Make sure to keep wallets and purses within sight or locked up and use the ‘buddy’ system whenever leaving the group. Choose parking lots that are well lit and make sure that you feel comfortable next to the people parked near you. Avoid lone strangers and keep your cell phone charged in case you need to dial emergency services.
Navigating Charlotte: Public transportation is a great idea for Panther fans, but it’s not a realistic option when transporting heavy equipment for a tailgate. If you are driving into the city, be prepared to get lost. Charlotte is famous for its confusing highways and poorly chosen street names (every street seems to have the word ‘Queen’ or ‘Sharon’ in it), so use a GPS app or map to get around the city. If you do not have a GPS, you may want to print out a hard copy of driving directions to help you get to the stadium as well as get home. There are many parking lots to choose from, but make sure the lot allows tailgating before dishing out your money.
Be aware of your alcohol consumption: Charlotte outdoor temperatures can still be 80 degrees Fahrenheit, even in November. Remember that alcohol causes dehydration so be sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated. Choose a designated driver to avoid any issues with drinking and driving, and slow down when things get too frisky. No one likes a stumbling drunk at 10 a.m. in the morning, so consider pacing yourself to avoid any undesirable confrontation with friends, fans or authorities.
Children: Football and children are the perfect American combination. However, for safety reasons, it is a good idea to always be aware of where your children are and what they are doing. You may think it is adorable when your kids climb on top of your truck and shout insults at pedestrians walking into the stadium, but chances are no one else does. Monitor their behavior and consider bringing toys or electronics to keep them busy when they get bored of the tailgating atmosphere. Keep the kids safe by never letting them go to a public restroom without adult supervision and make sure they stay far away from lit grills. Reiterate the whole concept of ‘stranger danger’ and don’t let them wander around the stadium unattended.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
S.L. Schmitz is a published author, and more of her work can be found at Examiner.com.