The Perfect Tailgate

What defines a Penn State tailgate? It’s not the thousands of RVs that park near the stadium every weekend, nor is it the mouth-watering foods you get to choose from on game day. What makes a Penn State tailgate so great is that it doesn’t matter who you are, because when you’re in Happy Valley, you’re a Penn State fan above all else.

More than 100,000 Penn State football fans will pack into Beaver Stadium on Sept. 1 to watch the Nittany Lions play Appalachian State as the 25-point favorites in the season’s opening game. Even more fans will join their ranks during the much anticipated white out rematch against the 2017 Big Ten Champion Ohio State, the face-off against reigning Big Ten West Champion Wisconsin and long-time rival Michigan State. These three home games promise to be the highlight football games of the season and Beaver Stadium is sure to come alive when Nittany Lions’ fans electrify the stadium, in similar fashion to how they electrify tailgates.


Of course, the only thing that can make game day more alive and exciting is the perfect tailgate. Come game day, cars, trucks and RVs will gather in surrounding fields and parking lots to enjoy a pre-game celebration provided by Penn State faithful. Similar to the heart and pride of the Penn State football team, the culture of tailgating in Happy Valley encapsulates the Penn State way. Where you come from isn’t important, what’s important is ensuring, like the football game itself, the pre-game tailgate is filled with fun, respect and pride as a Penn Stater.  


What makes the best tailgate differs from fan to fan. Some prefer to set up a tent behind their car or truck and listen to pre-game coverage on the radio. Some would rather play a friendly — or sometimes not so friendly — game of cornhole with the neighboring tailgate. If you’re looking to go all in for your tailgate setup this year, bring out the wide-screen TV and a fully loaded kitchen compliments of your game day RV. State College RV Rental makes it easy for you to have all this and more. Not only do they set it up and take it down, RVs come equipped with add-ons to ensure your tailgate is exactly how you want it. Each RV comes with Wi-Fi, a queen bed and sleeper sofa and a fully loaded kitchen. If that’s not enough, you can add on chairs, tables and even an outdoor TV.

What’s on the Menu During Tailgating?

Before the game, the best college football fans in the country will be indulging in their choice of burgers, brats, pulled pork and more! If you’re a Penn State fan, you know about the nostalgic, welcoming environment during tailgating, and opening day is no different.


If you’re trying to channel your inner Trace McSorley, there’s nothing like having a catch on a brisk, game-day morning. Start throwing a football around with a few buddies, and it’ll only be a matter of time before a game of two-hand touch breaks out. Whether you’re tossing a football around or playing cornhole, make sure you get some food in your system before heading into Beaver Stadium.


Going into the game on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Unless you can convince your buddy to get some chicken fingers from the concession, you could miss out on a key part of the game! You can’t go wrong with the food at the concessions, but if you’re trying to see every snap of the game, you’re better off eating during a tailgate.


If you don’t feel like grilling or eating in the stadium, there are plenty of catering options in the area. Harrison’s Catering has a wide variety of food, from hearty Italian meatballs, to buffalo chicken mac and cheese, there’s a reason why Harrison’s has been named Best State College Caterer since 2004 — variety and consistency! If you do plan on preparing food yourself, North Atherton’s Farmers Market has an abundance of options. When football season comes around, the farmers market will feature seasonal items such as sweet corn, watermelon, potatoes, summer squash and much more.


Finding a drink to wash down your lunch is never a problem in Happy Valley. Beer Belly’s Beverage has you covered with a wide variety of beer. From domestics, imports, malts and seasonal drinks, you’ll always have options. Beer isn’t everyone’s thing, so for wine aficionados, you have many options in State College. Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery, Mount Nittany Winery and Seven Mountains Wine Cellars all offer delicious, unique types of wines. Mount Nittany Winery offers a ‘Tailgate Red.’ An easy drinking blend of French hybrid grapes, this wine was made to be enjoyed with tailgate food.

What Makes a Penn State Fan?

Maybe it was when Penn State blocked Ohio State’s field goal a few years ago. Maybe it was because your friend took you to your first football game. Whatever your reason is for being a Penn State fan, when you set foot into Beaver Stadium with your blue and white gear on, you’re part of something bigger: a fan base with expectations to be the loudest, most passionate group in the country.


It really doesn’t matter if your tailgate setup is two lawn chairs, a 6-pack and deck of cards. What makes State College one of the most desirable game-day destinations in the country is the delightful, untroubled environment of tailgating in Happy Valley. Get ten Penn State fans at the same tailgate, you might hear a WE ARE chant. Get over 100,000 fans in the same stadium? You may need some earplugs.


What makes your perfect tailgate? Sound off at!

Back to Top