What better place to tailgate than in beautiful downtown Charlotte, right next to the Bank of America Stadium?
Charlotte does not experience the same crazy weather fluctuations as other teams such as the Chicago Bears with their biting wind or the Minnesota Vikings with their snowdrifts. Instead, the Panther fans enjoy a southern climate which rarely, if ever, falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. People dress in layers in the Carolinas, thus staying warm when the mornings are chilly, but peeling off layers as the sun starts to shine throughout the day.
During occasional bouts of bad weather, Panther tailgating fans have learned how to stay both warm and cool during those exciting games.
If you are tailgating and do not have access to an RV or other sheltering vehicle, then the next best thing is a pop-up tent. Sometimes referred to as ‘tailgating canopies,’ these portable, lightweight tents provide excellent shade and waterproof cover and are very easy to unfold and construct. They are economical, too, costing as little as $50 for a simple tent all the way up to $300 for an NFL-licensed tent without attached tarps. Adding tarps to the side of the pop-up tent decreases exposure to the elements and will keep 5-8 seated people safe from getting wet, more if they are standing. Be sure to weigh down the legs to prevent blowing over in the wind and avoid outside exposure or congregating under metal structures if lightening is predicted or visible.
Bring umbrellas and ponchos with hoods for people who like to mingle outside the tented areas and be sure to keep the grill dry by not cooking when it is pouring out. Waterproof footwear is recommended and some dry towels wrapped in plastic will help keep hands and faces dry.
It is not unusual for Charlotte to experience days when the fall temperatures hit the high 70s or low 80s, even in late October or early November. Consider bringing plenty of bottled water to drink and encourage everyone in your tailgate to drink a cup of water with each alcoholic beverage consumed in order to avoid dehydration. Dress in layers and wear hats and sunblock.
When the weather does dip in the Queen City, Panther fans tend to over exaggerate how cold it is. While 40 degrees might feel positively balmy to New England Patriot or Green Bay Packer fans, in Charlotte it will be greeted with gasps of shock and mountains of heavy winter-weather gear. Wear fabrics that breathe and consider adding hand warmers and foot warmers for added comfort. Snow tends to occur in February and March, if at all, and the entire city of Charlotte will grind to a standstill if snow is even predicted. Historically, public transportation, restaurants and schools will all close down if snow falls, even if it is just a light sprinkle. This can be disconcerting to out-of-towners who do not expect the high anxiety Carolinians will display over snow, and can cause travel delays and game delays or even cancellations. In the event of snow, always double check that the stadium is still open and that public transportation is running prior to leaving for the game.
In addition to the recommendations above, it is a good idea to have flashlights, a small shovel, plastic sheets or large garbage bags, paper towels and additional matches to ensure that your tailgate remains uninterrupted by inclement weather.
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.