Celebrate National Tailgating Day September 3

When one hears the word “tailgating” the thought of grilled food, cold beer, and close friends comes to mind. It's a pre-game celebration, derived from fandom, and unique to American culture. One of the first documented tailgating occurrences predates football. The year was 1861; it was the Civil War during the Battle of Bull Run. Civilians on both the Union and Confederate sides arrived carrying baskets of food, while cheering on their “team.”

There’s also the account of a football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869 when fans, who traveled to the game by horse and carriage, grilled meats at the “tail-end” of the horse. Meanwhile, Yale University claims tailgating began there in 1904 when fans brought picnic baskets of food for a pre-game meal.

Then there is the New York Yankees version when, in 1957, the wife of the team doctor set up her station wagon with tailgate down and served sandwiches to her children and friends. When asked about the car picnic, she is said to have replied, “It’s more of a tailgate party.”

Today tailgating has evolved into a high-tech affair.

For instance, there are numerous smartphone apps that are tailor-made for tailgating and help you stay connected. One such app allows you to find your friends amongst other tailgaters using your device’s GPS. A mobile hotspot or Wi-Fi network can provide both connectivity and access to a plethora of entertainment, while a television allows you to watch the pre-game show. Want to be a grill master? Bluetooth thermometers keep track of the temperature of food on the grill and alert a user's mobile device when the meat reaches the desired temperature. Besides the grill, foodies love to have their hot plates, crockpots, blenders, griddles, kegerators, and wine coolers at the ready.

However, all these devices will not run without a boost of power. Savvy tailgaters who want to extend the range of comforts outdoors include inverter generators as their must-have appliance. Compact and lightweight inverter generators are ideal for crowded areas such as a stadium parking lot or the infield at a NASCAR race but still provide enough power for multiple small appliances. Another advantage is that inverter technology is safe for electronics, such as televisions, tablets, and other power sensitive equipment.

Inverters are more fuel efficient than regular generators. An inverter produces electricity on demand, based on what you are powering. That results in a slower engine speed with less noise and lower fuel consumption. Users appreciate how inexpensive inverters are to run. For example, A-iPower’s 2,000-watt inverters can run about seven hours at 50 percent load on just a gallon of gas.

When choosing an inverter, look for one that has enough receptacles for all the items you plan to run. Inverters that have USB adapters will allow you to charge a battery or cellphone. A-iPower inverters also come equipped with a built-in parallel kit, allowing two generators to connect for nearly double the power.

A-iPower offers inverters at 2,000, 2,300, 2,700, 3,800, and 8,000 watts. Visit a-ipower.com.

With all these technological advances in portable electric power, the picnickers at Bull Run and Rutgers/Princeton certainly would be amazed at the tailgate evolution.