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Homegating: The next best thing to being there

Why staying home on game day is a great call

Pork Ribs On A Barbcue Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

We all know that there’s nothing quite like the experience of watching the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. From the Skol Chant and the sounding of the Gjallarhorn at kickoff to the cheers when the Vikings go into victory formation, the experience of being surrounded by nearly 70,000 rabid fans is pretty great.

But the fact that you live quite some distance from the Twin Cities, as many Vikings fans do, or simply can’t afford to go to every home game doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great experience. Quite frankly, there are some people that might even prefer to go homegating rather than heading to the stadium. After all, you don’t have to deal with parking or traffic if you never leave your driveway, and there aren’t any lines for the bathroom at your house. Most importantly, you can decide who you’re surrounded by, and being able to experience the game with friends and/or family is always a great call.

Here are a few ways that you can make your house the destination for your Vikings homegating parties.

Give people plenty of notice

This is really important if you’re just getting started with homegating. A lot of people are going to try to make their plans well in advance during the football season, so if you want people to come to your place you’re going to have to give them some time. Don’t drop a group text on Saturday afternoon telling everyone that your place is open for Sunday morning’s kickoff. You’ll probably just end up annoying people and turning them off of the idea of coming to your place to watch the game.

This also leads to the next important tip.

Make sure you have everything you need

If you want your guests to have a great homegating experience, you want to make sure that you have all of your provisions lined up before the festivities start. There’s nothing worse than having to run to the grocery store during the game because you ran out of something during the action. Whether it’s beverages, chips, napkins, or whatever it may be, make sure you have all of it before kickoff. If you’re going to be grilling or any other sort of cooking during the game, make sure you have enough to accommodate everyone who will be in attendance.

(See, that’s why it’s important to get a head count early. These things are connected.)

Be known for something

If you want to make your homegating celebrations a regular thing, you really need to be known for something. Whether it’s having the best setup as far as being able to view the game or having a really special recipe for some great football food, having a “signature” that’s attached to your game day experience will make people want to plan to watch the game at your house. If you make the best ribs in town, then make sure you make those a big part of your experience. I mean, hey. . .who doesn’t like a big ol’ slab of ribs (or wings or whatever the case may be) while they’re watching the Vikings lay waste to another opponent?

Make sure everyone gets home

When the final whistle has sounded and it’s time for everyone to go home, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone gets home safely. Whether that means you help folks get home, help to facilitate rides with other partygoers, or ensure that everyone has the ability to contact a ride-sharing service, the only way that everyone can make it to your next homegating party is to ensure they get home from the current one. Anything you can do to make sure that happens will be welcomed.

The inability to get to U.S. Bank Stadium or whatever other venue the Vikings might be playing at during a given weekend shouldn’t prevent you from having a great experience on game day with people that you care about. Homegating can be a great call and every bit as much fun as attending the games in person, particularly if you make sure that you do everything to make the experience as great for your guests as possible.

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