Throwing Tailgate Parties
strange american traditions

These New York Jets fans enjoyed a tailgate party in the parking lot of the New Meadowlands Stadium on Sept. 13, 2010. Getting to know your neighboring tailgaters is all part of the fun.

Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

When Americans attend sporting events -- and football games in particular -- it's often not enough to simply show up and take their seats. They need to arrive hours in advance to properly prepare for the experience of seeing the game live and in person. Emblazoned in team colors, tailgaters will crowd the stadium's parking lot, grilling food, sipping cold adult beverages, playing lawn games and tossing around footballs.

Many tailgaters take their setup very seriously, and will even haul along stereos, TVs and satellite dishes to enhance the event. When it comes to how early fans arrive to start tailgating, the sky's the limit. Some are out there at the crack of dawn to begin the festivities -- or even the night before to claim a spot!

When it comes to the pigskin, the traditions don't stop in the parking lot, however. Check another strange American obsession related to football on the next page.