Tailgate parties
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Tailgating isn’t just for professional and college games anymore.

By Greg Barbera

High school sports continue to grow in popularity in small towns across the country, especially in the South and in Texas. As a result, families are throwing tailgate parties—traditionally reserved for professional and college games—right in their hometowns. Waco High School in Texas, for example, calls tailgating a “new tradition,” and New Bern High School in North Carolina offers tailgating tent privileges to boosters. Tailgate Wiki—a site that offers directions and rules for partiers—just added high school football to its offerings.

High school tailgate parties make sense: They’re all about camaraderie, which stretches out family fun. It’s a good thing that your 2014 Chevrolet Traverse seats up to 8*—and has cup holders for up to 12!—making it the ideal transportation to and from the game. Plus, the available power remote liftgate will allow you to unload everything with ease. Here are some ideas to help you get in on the tailgating trend.

Traditions vary from state-to-state. At Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where my brother Mike Barbera lives, families gather together for a communal breakfast before the school’s annual Thanksgiving Day game. Mike’s three kids attended that school. “One year a guy made omelets,” he says. “It was a total family event; everybody was there…moms, dads, kids.” It’s also a great way for the alumni players to meet the current players. My family’s high school alma mater—Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland—offers a “fifth” quarter where the tailgating takes place, after the game. It’s a perfect way to bond with family.

Entertainment is another key element of tailgating. Popular in Ohio and the Southeast is corn hole, a game that’s played by tossing beanbags onto an angled board with a hole in it. Sort of like tossing horseshoes. Some corn hole companies, such as BagBoards.net, offer customers the option to customize their set. Zealous fans—you know who you are—can get their favorite team’s logo or mascot emblazoned on their board. (Chevrolet is all about customization, too: Your Traverse’s available heated seats might be just the place to spend part of a crisp winter tailgate).

To get partygoers amped for the home team’s showdown with a rival opponent, make a pregame playlist and take advantage of your front seat USB port** to stream Pandora or Stitcher SmartRadio.

Last but certainly not least is food. Not all schools allow open-flame charcoal grills at tailgate parties, so check with your local athletic department. But nothing screams “tailgate!” more than firing up some bratwurst and burgers. In any event, thanks to the Traverse’s cargo space, you’ll be able to tote a cooler full of drinks and snacks. Need ideas? Snackpicks.com offers Football Tailgate Recipes and Tips. Either way, the party starts—and ends—with your Chevrolet Traverse.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Greg Barbera of DadCentric is a dad blogger, beer magazine editor and the singer/bass player for the punk band Chest Pains. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter @gregeboy and on Tumblr, Facebook and Blogger.

*LTZ shown seat seven.

**Not compatible with all devices.