The History of Tailgating

As the official caterers of the Philadelphia Soul and the Temple University Owls, Village Catering knows that, sometimes, the best part of the game for football fanatics can be the tailgating party before kickoff! Though the NFL sparked outrage by banning tailgating at the annual Super Bowl event, fans throughout the country continue to enjoy barbeques and beer before cheering on their favorite college and professional players. But how did tailgating come to be so ingrained in American sporting culture?

According to the American Tailgaters Association, tailgating has a surprising origin—one that has nothing to do with sports and much more to do with a battle on a different kind of field. In the mid-summer of 1861, civilians anticipating the first Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia, decided to claim their spot outside the battleground to see which “team” would win the fight. They met on the outskirts of the battlefield, loaded their wagons up with food and whiskey, and set up camp a full day before the official battle would begin to drink and party before the soldiers arrived. This first-ever tailgate event would take place a full eight years before the first-ever football game—meaning that tailgating is a tradition as American as apple pie and baseball. Who knew that the Civil War was a spectator sport to some enthusiastic Virginians?

Looking to cheer on your team the right way? In addition to athletic catering, Village Catering also offers catering for tailgate parties—so you and your fellow fans can cheer your players to victory with full stomachs! Give our team a call today at 215-437-3337 or browse our website today to learn more about our perfectly curated tailgate cuisine!