NATIONAL TAILGATING DAY – First Saturday in September

National Tailgating Day | First Saturday in September
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2022)


National Tailgating Day | First Saturday in September
National Tailgating Day | First Saturday in September


On the first Saturday in September, National Tailgating Day reminds us of what the autumn colors and scents already do. Those colors signal grilling time and a season of cheering on our favorite teams!


Tailgating is the custom of gathering outside the stadium before the game with fans of the same team for food, beverages, and socializing. Gatherings often take place at the tailgate of a pickup truck or the trunk of a car. However, neither is required. Tailgating also includes a few traditions. The staples of a tailgate party often include grilling and beer. However, chili competitions and recipe challenges encourage friendly competition before the game. Come hungry!

Tailgating History

While the original tailgate is unknown, many teams take pride in claiming this title, as they should. Some writers even suggest the many observers in attendance at the Battle of Bull Run in 1861 as the first tailgaters. The spectators arrived with their picnic baskets and bottles of claret prepared to watch opposing teams. So perhaps this can be considered tailgating.

Today, tailgating centers around the sport of football. While football has its roots in rugby, most fans generally accepted that Rutgers and Princeton Universities played the first football game in U.S. history on November 6, 1869.  On that day, fans arrived early to enjoy each other’s company, some food, and cheer for their scarlet and crimson teams.

Much like building a community, tailgating hearkens back to times gone by. Pioneering villages once came together to raise the framework of a building. After a long day’s work, a large meal and perhaps a sporting competition of sorts followed. Communities looked forward to these harvest traditions year after year.

Those who tailgate come back every year, weekend after weekend. Couples meet. Families grow. Bonds are forged – all through the community of tailgating.


Put on your team colors. Bring your game face. Whip up your best batch of jalapeno poppers and get outside to watch your favorite team play this weekend! Another way to celebrate the day is by sharing your tailgating memories. Share your story using #NationalTailgatingDay to post on social media.

Post your tailgating pics on one of Tailgating Challenge’s social media pages:

Facebook @tailgatingchallenge
Twitter @tailgatingchall
Instagram @ tailgatingchallenge


Luke Lorick, president of Tailgating Challenge, founded National Tailgating Day in 2016 to share his passion for the sport of tailgating.

The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed the day to be observed on the first Saturday of September, annually.
Tailgating Challenge

Tailgating Challenge is one of the largest tailgating companies in the world, and Lorick sees the joy and friendships tailgating brings to many Americans every day.

Tailgating FAQ

Q. Is tailgating legal?
A. In the United States, tailgating can be a traffic violation. That is, if you’re following the car in front of you too closely, it can be a traffic violation. But creating a festive BBQ from the back of your truck, SUV, or trunk of your car before the big game is not illegal. However, drinking responsibly and cleaning up after yourself will prevent you from breaking any laws and local ordinances.


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