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You don’t need to save your tailgate party plans for game day — parking lot parties are great any day, any time of year as long as the weather is nice. And in Venice Beach, California, the weather is always perfect for enjoying time outdoors with your friends and family. Thinking of hosting a parking lot party, but are feeling a little overwhelmed? Or maybe you just want some creative ideas to add the finishing touches on your party plans. Either way, this article will help you take your parking lot party or tailgate party to the next level. Here are our best tips for hosting a parking lot party!
1. Keep a toolbox in the trunk of your car or truck with tailgate party essentials.
If you’re a frequent tailgater or parking lot partier, a toolbox is a must. Even if you don’t have frequent parties, even just throwing one together for organization and preparedness’s sake is never a bad idea. However, if you’re going to keep a toolbox always stocked, ensure that you take inventory well in advance of the day of each party you host. Don’t bank on the toolbox being fully equipped at all times, as things get lost, accidentally taken, or left out in packing up all the time. I mean honestly, if you’re having a great time, it’s bound to happen. So stay vigilant (and organized)!
Some ideas of what to include in your parking lot party toolbox:
- Serving utensils
- Bottle openers (plenty of them)
- Can opener
- Wooden skewers
- Basting brush
- Mini flashlight
- Trash bags
- Paper towels
- Aluminum foil
- Wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer
- Plastic zip-up bags
- And of course: Your favorite sauces and seasonings!
- Masking tape
2. Prepare as much as possible ahead of time.
The last thing you want to be doing during a party is scrambling to prepare and cook the food. To take the stress out of some of the day-of process, do as much prep work ahead of time that you can. Pre-cut vegetables and toppings and make dishes a day before and keep in the fridge until ready to re-heat. Also, be mindful of the menu. You want to choose dishes that are easy to make ahead of time, and equally or more easy to heat up and set out for your guests to enjoy right away (and for you to get to relax)!
3. Make sure everyone stays hydrated.
Since you’re going to be outside in the sun all day, you want to make sure your guests are getting enough water. Keep coolers stocked with ice-cold water bottles, or even better (and more environmentally friendly) keep a couple of those big 5-gallon, heavy-duty beverage coolers out for guests to refill their water bottles or cups as they please.
4. Check your tech and sound systems.
It wouldn’t be a party without music, but having an outdoor affair means that access to outlets is scarce. It might be a good idea to bring a wireless speaker, fully charged and ready to go either as a primary or backup, just in case. If you’re able, test your equipment out before the party starts, so when it’s time to crank up the tunes, you’ve got everything running smoothly.
5. Provide lots of shade and seating options.
Even if the weather feels nice, being out in the sun for long periods of time can wear on your guests. If you can, set up a few shade tents with seating for your guests to find respite from the heat of the sun for a while. Furnish with a water cooler or beverage dispenser. If you really want to go all out and have access to an extension cord and outlet, a fan set up in the tent can add an extra degree of coolness.
6. Have plenty of easily-accessible trash bins.
No one likes a litterbug. The fewer options for disposal of trash, the more your guests will feel inclined to just throw their trash on the ground. This isn’t great for the environment, and it’s certainly not going to be fun for you to clean up. Set up plenty of trash cans (more than you think you need) around the premises for guests to dispose of their waste properly.
7. Be smart about your spread.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re being crowded out of the food table or having to precariously reach over a slew of dishes to get to what you want. Be smart about how you set up your food and condiment tables. Don’t try to cram everything into a little space. It’s worth it to go through the trouble of setting up one more table than you think you need than trying to scramble for a spot for an overflow of items that you couldn’t fit in.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the party!
We hope our top tips for hosting a parking lot party helped. The most important thing is to avoid putting too much pressure on yourself to throw an extravagant, memorable event. Trust us, your guests are going to love it, and they’ll appreciate the time they get to spend with you. So don’t stress too much. Follow our tips, and you’re on your way to having a great time.