Browns tailgating is easy in September. It doesn’t take much more dedication to spend hours in the lots each October — just an extra layer of clothing. It’s the month of November that begins to separate the hardcore fans from the casual ones.
As the eternal hopefulness of a new season fades into the reality of Week 9 and the weather begins to turn from charmingly chilly to wind-whipping and wintery, the true fans are left in the lakefront lots working to keep their bodies warm, their friends fed and their beer from freezing. These are the men and women who are the backbone of NFL tailgating in this town — and writer Peter Chakerian’s new book is a tribute to them.
The Browns Fan’s Tailgating Guide (Gray & Company, $9.95) is part history lesson, part sociological study, part user’s guide. Chakerian spent a year trolling the lots surrounding Cleveland Browns Stadium to unravel the asphalt etiquette while collecting ideas, recipes and stories from many of the characters who call the lakefront home eight days each season.
Though tailgating veterans will find the how-to portion of the book a bit obvious, there is advice here that will offset the I-never-thought-of-that factor experienced by newbies. Things like: Prepare to feed 25 percent more people than the total number who will be tailgating with you to compensate for hearty appetites and nomadic strangers.
Chakerian calls tailgating one of the last grassroots happenings still unspoiled by corporate America. And if you don’t know the first thing about becoming part of it, this book is a good place to start.