Every year, we gather with family and friends to watch the Super Bowl. But this year is extra special with the Atlanta Falcons playing in the big game, facing the New England Patriots.
On Sunday, Feb. 5, Super Bowl 51 will kick off in Houston at 6:30 p.m. Here in Atlanta, fans will be cheering on their team with good reason to celebrate — and amp up — the festivities.
Tony Conway of Legendary Events said while he considered traveling to his hometown of Houston for the Super Bowl, he decided to remain in Georgia, saying there’s nothing like watching the game in the comfort of his North Georgia home with friends and classic Super Bowl fare including chili, chicken wings and a cocktail bar.
We asked Conway of the upscale Atlanta-based catering, floral and event planning company for tips, and he said while Super Bowl parties seem to be about eating and drinking (and watching the big game and commercials), he suggests hosts also pay attention to other aspects of the party, which includes making sure there’s preselected music playing for early arrivals before the game. “Nothing like walking into a quiet party,” Conway said in an email.
Other suggestions from Conway include having a well-stocked bar and considering hiring a staff person depending on the size of your gathering to keep an eye on anything that might be running out as well as keeping food warm, and help with cleaning so you have more time to enjoy the game, and not spend so much time picking up.
Here are more tips from Conway and other party experts:
Super Bowl Decorations. Show your spirit using Falcons party plates, party favors, and lots of red and black. Wrap a bottle of water with red and black ribbons tied around the bottle neck. Decorate a long table with green Astroturf and use white tape to create football field markings. Use PVC pipes to create goal posts for food stations. Falcon balloons along with red and black balloons also add to the festive atmosphere. Party City has a party pack for 18 which includes plates, balloons, party banner for $29.99. Other fun ideas include Falcons paper straws, Falcons coaster set and Falcons NFC championship hats.
Frame action photographs: Greg Jenkins with California-based Bravo Productions, offered this great idea: Print action photos of Falcons players (or cut photos of them out of the newspaper) playing throughout the season and place them inside frames (you can buy frames at the dollar store or a thrift store on the cheap), and then set up these framed photos around the house especially where guests will gather.
Human décor: Encourage guests to wear Falcons sportswear -- jerseys, hats, socks, scarves, etc. The guests all decked out will add to the celebratory atmosphere.
Festive Food: A little pre-game planning can go a long way. Football-shaped brownies, chicken wings, plates with layers of fresh raspberries and blackberries to emulate the Falcons colors. Jennifer Hill Booker, a personal chef in Atlanta and owner of the catering company Your Resident Gourmet, likes to mix traditional football viewing bites with low-fat options. For example, she often begins with a Black Eyed Pea Hummus platter paired with a plate of grilled hot wings, followed by fruit kebabs accompanied by queso and chips. The Pastry Chef at Corner Cafe is going all-out from now until Super Bowl Sunday, and is offering Falcons-themed treats beyond the standard cookie or cupcake. With everything from chocolate dipped strawberry footballs, #RiseUp cookies, cupcakes topped with custom-made Falcons helmets and “grass” frosting, football brownies, and red velvet football and helmet layer cakes, they've got something for everyone.
Another idea include Atlanta-imprinted chocolate discs that fit comfortably on the rim of most glasses or drink ware are perfect for Falcons fans and you can get the chocolate discs inspired by the opposing teams (or you can stick with all Atlanta) and festive football designs. The rich chocolate complements beer, wine, soda, coffee, tea, or any drink really. Available in bulk quantities or a 15-piece gift box for $29.95, ChocolateSideCars are a great “ice-breaker.” Please note, these require two to three days of travel so these should be purchased ASAP. (Fun side note: founder of chocolate company that makes these chocolate text treats, is David Little, a 1978 Emory grad).
Or how about Falcons-inspired alcohol infused cup cakes?
Dawn Belisle of the local online bakery Delights By Dawn has been selling her special infused cupcakes and desserts at Falcons home games for the past three seasons at the Georgia Dome. (She is not only a business owner but a fan, a season ticket holder, and the PSL owner for the new stadium) She will have a pop up shop Saturday at Urban Grind Coffee (at 962 Marietta St.) where you can pick up her most popular cup cakes (in Falcons colors this week of course). Her most coveted cup cakes include a red velvet one with chocolate vodka, a strawberry cupcake with strawberry colada vodka and a chocolate cup cake with bourbon. The cost: $47 for a dozen;$27.50 for a six pack or individual cupcakes sell for $5 apiece.
Plan enough time to eat: With the game getting underway at dinner time, decide ahead of time when everyone will eat and plan accordingly.
Keep the conversation on the game. Sharon Schweitzer, an etiquette expert, author, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide who is based in Texas said most people are coming to your party to watch the big game, so keep the conversation only around the game. This is not the time to talk politics, careers or anything else. If you find the need to have a conversation outside of the big game, excuse yourself and step into another room away from the television and main gathering of guests, she adds.
Set up multiple TV Screens. Borrow TVs if need be, and place screens in the living area, great room, patio, kitchen, and game rooms. One TV may be set up for serious game watchers, and another TV reserved for socializers ‘chatting’ during the game.
Conway suggested even contacting an In-home entertainment company to rent a huge screen for your Super Bowl Party.
Play games on Game Day. Have guests guess the halftime or final score, give prizes for best fan spirit or yummiest appetizer. And one way to keep everyone watching the commercials is to get everyone to rate them.
Drink in Moderation. If you serve alcohol, also serve bottled water, juice, carbonated drinks and sodas. Sports fans understand arenas close down alcohol service before the final play period. After the third quarter announce “last call” and close the bar. Begin serving dessert, coffee and tea. Have an advance plan for guests who may overindulge including having designated drivers, calling Uber and having a room ready for unexpected overnight guests.