This may be stating the obvious...but if you're looking for a party theme that will get the guys' attention, and a theme the gals would enjoy as well, sports may be a good place to start. Having said that, Jurga and I were planning our Great 8 dinner party for the first Saturday of September which just happened to be opening day of the college football season. Hmm? What do you think the party theme was? You guessed it.
Streit's "Pigskin Classic"
The perfect theme for the perfect weekend for anybody who loves college football, which in the case of the Great 8 happens to be everybody.
The theme was set, so now it was time to create the invitations, menu and the atmosphere.
A football-game program would be the best way to announce the theme while getting everybody involved. Jurga and I enlisted our son Daniel to create graphics and Photoshop photos of each of us to create "player profiles" to be included in the program. Each entry included pictures as well as humorous profiles for each "player" and "cheerleader." As always, the menu assignments were delivered in the invitation...in this case the football program. The program included a page of "advertisements," with each ad representing the Great 8 participants and what they would be providing for the evening's dinner.
The atmosphere...Hmm? How to make the house simulate a football game environment? Weeelll...every football game starts with a tailgate party, so we recreated a tailgate atmosphere for our appetizer hour. We covered the driveway with AstroTurf, set up the appetizers and beverages in the trunk of the car, played college fight songs, played a few "games of skill" related to football, and set the stage for later entry into the "locker room."
After we enjoyed out tailgate appetizers and "games of skill" in our driveway, we proceeded to the outside bar to enjoy "halftime" in the Streit locker room.
The Locker Room
The locker room was the backyard bar and grill area; decorated with assorted jerseys and letter jackets from various high schools and colleges. In fact, we used the locker room to treat Phil, who acquired a hamstring injury while playing the games of skill during the tailgate party.
The inside of the house was decorated with as much football memorabilia as we could find with the help of friends and neighbors. We had football jerseys, helmets, pom poms, programs, balls, hats, etc. In fact, we had three items which were autographed by former Heisman Trophy winners: a Carson Palmer football, a Pat Sullivan program and a Matt Leinart helmet.
But the highlight of the decorating was the dining room centerpiece: The Outland Trophy (best college offensive lineman of the year), which we borrowed from our former babysitter and UCLA All American, Kris Farris. Jurga decorated the table using AstroTurf as the tablecloth, "footballesque" placemats and assorted lanyards and barware to coordinate with each guest's college football team and, of course, the impressive Outland Trophy.
After everyone enjoyed our display of various football memorabilia, we sat down for dinner starting with Anna's Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola Croutons and Bacon Twists; accompanied by Kyle's "Fighting Irish" Soda Bread. For dinner we grilled Filet of "Wolverine" and "Wildcat" served with "Mashed Root (for your home team) Vegetables." Dinner wouldn't be complete without Debbie's fabulous Spicy Chocolate Cake with Jalapeño Fudge Frosting.
The evening ended as the perfect "kick-off" for the start of our favorite sport, college football!