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Entry from October 12, 2007
Tailgate Party or Tailgate Picnic (Tailgating)

A “tailgate party” or “tailgating picnic” (“tailgating”) is a pre-game ritual that some fans engage in at stadium parking lots, using the tailgate of trucks or station wagons. Hot dogs, hamburgers, brisket, corn, and beans are some of the items often served in the tailgate party or picnic. University of Texas Longhorns teams have many tailgating fans, including a group known as the “Texas Tailgaters.”
The terms “tailgate party” and “tailgate picnic” began to be used in the late 1950s. Some have compared the tailgating tradition to the old-fashioned chuck wagon.
Wikipedia: Tailgate Party
In North America, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves alcoholic beverages and barbecuing. Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas before, and occasionally after or during, sporting events & rock concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates.
“Best Tailgating in Texas” 

University of Texas Tailgate Parties
(Oxford English Dictionary)
tail-gate, n. (and a.)
A tail-board or back on a wagon, lorry, etc., hinged or removable to facilitate the loading of goods; a hatchback door on a car. orig. U.S.
1868 Oregon State Jrnl. 28 Nov. 2/3 The whole charge..[passed] through the tailgate of the wagon.
24 June 1854, Scientific American, pg. 323, col. 2:
“TAILBOARDS OF WAGON…tail gate or board…”
24 September 1858, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, pg. 1:
On the morning of the second day the Captain ordered Harrington to be tried by the hands close up to the tail gate of the wagon.
23 July 1958, Fresno (CA) Bee, “Tailgate Picnic” by Katherine Kitchen, pg. 1B:
Whether you choose the high road or the low road as the route for your next outing in the station wagon, do plan to make it a tailgate picnic. This is a convenient, comfortable way to dine on the go.
23 July 1958, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. 2B, cols. 1-6 headline:
Tailgate Picnic Recipes Are Easy And Fun To Prepare
11 August 1958, Salisbury (MD) Times, pg.8, col. 2 photo caption:
TAILGATE doubles as “groaning board” for folks with a station wagon. Any inviting roadside spot’s an excuse for a picnic.
17 September 1959, North Adams (MA) Transcript, pg. 9, col. 3:
Like Chuck Wagon
Tailgate party is the name for picnics served off the rear end of the family station wagon.
4 May 1960, Coshocton (OH) Tribune, pg. 9, col. 4:
Tailgate Party New
Tailgate party is the name for picnics served off the rear end of the family station wagon. 
13 July 1961, Portsmouth (OH) Times, pg. 18, col.1 photo caption:
TAILGATE picnic is delightful solution to problem of where to eat. Station wagon cooler keeps food fresh. 
10 November 1961, Zanesville (OH) Times-Recorder, section A, pg. 11,col.  7:
What’s New In Dining?
It’s The Tailgate Picnic
By Patricia McCormack
NEW YORK (UPI)—The parking lot cookout—or tailgate party—is picking up where the backyard barbecue left off.
This new American dining custom occurs in parking lots near football stadiums in many college towns on Saturdays.
For a tailgate party you need a station wagon, food, ice, cool martinis, people and a lot of unexpected happenings bordering on the hectic.
The latter is what makes the tailgate party a kissin’ cousin of the backyard barbecue.
Theoretically, friends meets, the tailgate is lowered, the food is spread and the football fans quietly down a simple lunch before the game.
Not long ago, the tailgate party was exclusively a ritual in Ivy League circles. But it has spread. Our family tailgated recently at the citadel of rigid discipline, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
20 June 1962, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Picnic Ideas Exciting,” pg. C4:
July Better Homes & Gardens features an imaginating variety of ideas for the most exciting picnics you’ve ever had. Have a hearty tailgate picnic; send the kids off on a hobo picnic; or an old-fashioned family reunion feast.
26 September 1963, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, pg. 20, col. 1:
Touch Down for a Tailgate Picnic
By Clementine Paddleford
Tailgate picnics take over for the football season. After game parties have lost their importance.
The Daily Texan
Texas Tailgating
Tailgaters enjoy food, friends and pre-game party atmosphere in campus parking lots
By By Elizabeth Egeland - Daily Texan Staff
Google Books
Longhorns for Life
by Whit Canning
Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing LLC
Pg. 29;
“We also formed a tailgate group. It’s called Texas Tailgaters. Over the years it has grown with people’s families, but it was originally a Texas cheerleaders group.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Friday, October 12, 2007 • Permalink

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