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An unexpected tailgating twist

By Ashleigh Petersen

October 31, 2023

Elite Events & RentalsEvent: This Tampa Bay Tailgate event was meant to stay up throughout the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ NFL season. Elite Events & Rentals in Tampa provided the tent, flooring, carpet, furniture and two Big Ass fans for the event.

Challenges: This event got off to a rocky start when a Category 4 hurricane threatened to directly hit the Tampa Bay area. Setup for the tailgating party started on the Tuesday before the Buccaneers’ first home game on Sunday, Sept. 25. It took five days to set up the tent, sidewalls, flooring, carpet, furniture and two 20-ft. Big Ass fans. The installation was completed 24 hours before kickoff but by that time, the team at Elite Events & Rentals was keeping a very close eye on the weather forecast as Hurricane Ian raced towards the state. “Multiple conversations took place with our management team, the City of Tampa and the Bucs regarding when the last day would be to drop the tent and still be safe to be on the road,” says Brandon Ahlgren, CERP, owner, Elite Events & Rentals. “With Hurricane Ian closing in on Florida, we decided on late night Sunday/early Monday morning that we would need to start taking the structure down. Within a day and a half, we picked up all the furniture, removed all the vinyl off the structure, removed the carpet and dropped the frames of the structure to the ground.” Tampa ended up being spared the brunt of the hurricane and the crew rushed back to the site to reinstall everything ahead of the next game on the following Sunday. After the initial rough start, the event ran smoothly for the remainder of the football season.

A unique request: In addition to dealing with a hurricane, this event also provided the Elite Events & Rentals team an opportunity to fulfill a unique request. “Our customer asked if we could hang fans in our tent. We said yes and then he asked for two 20-ft. Big Ass fans,” says Ahlgren. “We said ‘Sure! Haha!’ thinking in the back of our heads, we have never done that before.” The team worked with Losberger De Boer, the structure manufacturer, to ensure they understood what the weight load could be. “Then we took the A frame to a welder shop to make sure our angles were correct. We also had to get the specs on the Big Ass fan for weight and attachment points,” Ahlgren added. This was the first time the company has hung fans like that from a structure. Ahlgren says they would do it again and are just waiting for the right job.