Have a Ballpark Theme Picnic for an Authentic Stadium Experience
When you think of baseball, many things come to mind: the spirit of competition, warm weather, and of course, stadium food. Ballparks aren't the only places to enjoy hamburgers, nachos, fries, peanuts, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream treats and cotton candy, though. Create a baseball theme at your next picnic to enjoy the spirit of the sport and the tasty food we all know and love.
Consider these creative ideas for bringing the ballpark to your next picnic:
Classic Ballpark Creations
The place to start is inside the stadium. Walking through those metal gates, the first thing you look for is the food stands. You can practically hear the hamburgers and hot dogs calling your name. Maybe you've got a taste for a nice, hot Italian sausage with the works. These are the classics that are the starting point for any baseball-themed picnic.
It doesn't really matter where the picnic takes place, but you're probably going to need access to a good grill. This lets you cook sausages, burgers, and hot dogs to perfection Make sure to bring plenty of mustard, relish, diced onion, ketchup, and pickles for a true ballpark experience. You can even grill up some peppers and onions in advance, to get that authentic ballpark concession stand experience.
Nachos are another traditional item sold at ballparks. Creating this ballpark classic begins with buying some nacho cheese sauce, which usually comes in cans at your grocery store. Pack up a grill-safe dish to heat the sauce, then pour over tortilla chips in individual paper bowls. Serve with jalapeno peppers and whatever else you think of as toppings.
What about some popcorn or peanuts in the shell for more classic ballpark ideas? All it takes is putting a cup or two of unshelled peanuts in small paper bags and leaving them around the table for folks to snack on whenever they like. Same goes for popcorn, and these are simple snacks that will evoke memories of sitting in the stands cheering on your favorite team.
Then there's Cracker Jacks, which you can actually make on your own. Take a simple caramel corn recipe, add some nuts, and you've got yourself another classic treat for a baseball picnic.
Most party or candy stores sell cotton candy in specific bags designed not to melt the candy before you have a chance to eat it. There's also several different types of pretzels, big or small, or you can make your own soft pretzels at home, too.
Take Lessons from Tailgaters
Tailgate party veterans take their time at the stadium, enjoying the day in a leisurely way, long after the first pitch is delivered. These people know how to pack a variety of the right foods for a fun-filled day of at the ballpark.
If you've got access to a portable grill, you can easily cook up a main course like turkey legs, ribs, or chicken drumsticks and wings. Dice up the meat and make some kabobs, or add a special glaze or marinade to that meat dish for some delicious-tasting stadium fare.
Chili is another great tailgate dish that can actually serve double duty. While a big bowl of chili is filling enough on its own, you can create your own chili dogs with it as well. Take a sturdy bun, grill a juicy hot dog, top it with a generous helping of chili and some sweet onions, and you've got another ballpark classic in your hands.
There are also some classic sandwiches that go great with a baseball picnic theme. This includes tuna, chicken, and egg salad, cheese steak, hoagies, cold cuts, clubs, and grilled cheese. A few extra ingredients and a little imagination will have your picnic guests savoring every last bite.
Healthy fruits, vegetables, and salads are another healthy possibility for your outdoor meal. Picnic classics include potato salad, coleslaw, watermelon, bean salad, and vegetable and fruit salads that are convenient to carry and easy to make.
There is plenty of room for creativity when deciding on what to bring to a tailgate party like this. Create your own 'super nachos' with ingredients like black olives, hot or mild peppers, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, and maybe some fresh cilantro, basil, or parsley. Bring along some of your favorite salsa as a finishing touch.
You'll want to keep your desserts simple and traditional. Freeze up some lemonade popsicles or bring along some popcorn balls. It's also obvious that America's favorite pastime deserves another American favorite – apple pie. Some savvy tailgaters bake up individual pie 'pockets' rather than try to serve slices from a full pie. Take along some ice cream for an outdoor 'a la mode' experience that will satisfy your greatest fans.
Setting the Stage for Your Stadium Theme
How many ways can you set the mood for a baseball themed picnic? For starters, bring along the balls, mitts, jerseys, and bats you'll need to enjoy the sport during the day. You'll also want to bring plenty of team spirit as well, since the competition among family and friends will surely add to the experience and the memory.
Set up your own diamond, wherever you can, and make sure everyone gets to bat at least one time. If you use whiffle balls, guests of all ages can play safely. If your numbers are too small for teams, you can play a type of scrimmage where everyone gets a turn at the plate, then goes to the outfield after their turn is over.
Again, preparations and place settings should be very simple. Everything can be served on paper plates, with condiments, napkins, and plastic silverware set out right next to the food. Keep drinks, salads, and desserts in coolers, and let everyone dig in and help themselves. You can even find sports-themed serving dishes and accessories in most party stores, for a little extra flair.
Decorate the picnic area with baseball memorabilia, if you have it. Make a simple scoreboard using poster board with cut out numbers. Bring along a radio to listen to a game playing in the background, if possible. Don't forget the seventh-inning stretch, either! Write up the words to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” on a big board so everyone can sing along.
A baseball theme picnic is a great way to create camaraderie, competitive spirit, and family fun that brings people closer together, and it all starts with your favorite ballpark foods. These simple suggestions create memorable events that will satisfy all your 'fans' as they leave your 'stadium.'