Some may think of tailgating as a frivolous affair, but to Dr. Pat Farrell, head of Pennsylvania State University's Recreation and Parks Department, it's "a leisure behavior we should look at more seriously." So Farrell directed a study of tailgating last football season in College Park, Pa. This is what she found:
* There are no class distinctions among tailgaters -- they represent everybody, from miners to bankers.
* Hard-core tailgaters plan menus for months before the season starts. "For the Boston College game, I'll bring the hors d'oeuvres; for Notre Dame, I'll bring the snacks," Farrell said is the scheme.
* There is certain tailgate hospitality etiquette. For instance, it is "very tacky to have sandwiches made beforehand -- you must have a spread," said Farrell. And using your trunk rather than a folding table is strictly second-rate.
* Farrell ranked foods in order of popularity. Junk food snacks were cited at top, followed by cheese, cold sandwiches, sweets, hot sandwiches, fruit, salad and then soup.
* Beverage popularity started with beer and ended with tea.
* Aside from "being part of a happening," when asked why they tailgate, many people cited food. "Saturday lunch is the pits," was Farrell's summation of the phenomenon. "And this makes it elaborate."