Seasoned San Diego Chargers tailgaters know the nooks and crannies of Qualcomm Stadium, but not everyone is a lifer with expert knowledge about the art of parking lot jubilees. Ensuring your tailgate scene goes off without a hitch is easy if you follow the tailgating rules of the road.
1. Plan with your peeps. Facebook, Twitter and texting are the easiest ways for you to plan your tailgate. Give each of your fellow tailgaters a task such as who brings the grill, the food, the ping-pong table and the keg. Decide ahead of time where you are partying – Section F2 for the best party or the Official Tailgate District for the best food.
2. Bigger is better. Now that your Facebook tailgating party has snowballed into an extravaganza, you might want to reserve a large tailgating space to accommodate you and 100 of your closest “friends.” To inquire about reserving a large party spot, call (619) 285-9392. If game day is about relaxing and having a good time without the hassle of cooking, hiring a caterer may be in your cards. Centerplate caters to hungry tailgaters of all shapes and sizes – call Cassie McCoy at (619) 641-6004 for more information.
3. If it’s going be a kegger, don’t forget to get a permit and proof of insurance before entering the Q. Should you get stopped by security for playing football in a “no ball zone” and your keg is visible, be sure to have your permit handy.
4. Stay put. Qualcomm Stadium is not like Disneyland where you get stamped, leave and then return after a quick jaunt to California Adventure. Once you leave the Q, you are gonzo for good. If watching the game to the bitter end is the plan, do everyone a favor and stay put.
5. Think of the kids and dear old grandpa. Having the whole family with you plus easy access to the bathrooms equals tailgating enjoyment. When planning your parking lot party, map out the nearest bathrooms and exits – this path of least resistance will be key to your peace of mind. At the end of the game, visions of your car parked at what feels like miles away from the Q Stadium entrance will put a damper on your winning mood. Park at Section F4 by the Friars Road entrance and you will be out of there in less than five minutes.
6. All in good time. Timing is everything when it comes to tailgating parties. If you arrive too early, throw back a few too many beers and realize the game hasn’t even started, you may end up having a siesta in the back seat of your car. Qualcomm Stadium opens its gates to tailgaters four hours before kick off if you’re paying cash and five hours prior for pre-pass holders. In addition, if it’s a winning ticket, the Q allows you and your buddies to continue the party for up to two hours after the game ends.
7. No Ball Zone. Qualcomm Stadium implements a No Ball policy – if you’re caught, the Q security will confiscate your football and won’t care if it’s signed by QB Philip Rivers.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Jennifer Geisman is an avid supporter of all things Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.