Whether it is the Carolina Panthers or Providence High Panthers you’re cheering for this season, nothing screams fall more than the perfect tailgate party.
Mint Street, the location of our event office, has been a tailgating mecca for years and has created traditions for many people who love our pro team. It’s fun to watch the parking, the setting up and the execution of this game-day ritual on Sunday after Sunday. What makes the perfect tailgate? Some say Aunt Jayne’s trail mix or Grandpa’s moonshine, but let’s get creative about this year’s pre-kickoff fun!
How to spice it up? Take a bite out of the opponent before game time.
This year’s home schedule features some food-favorite cities, so along with your family’s must-have’s, incorporate traditional fare from the opposing team’s locale.
Oct. 5: Da Bears, Chicago
For my hometown, think Vienna Beef hot dogs. The only items you need for authenticity are poppy seed buns, celery salt, relish, yellow mustard, chopped onions, sliced tomatoes, sport peppers and a pickle spear. Sport peppers, by the way, are medium hot, crunchy and come in a jar.
Oct. 30: The Saints, New Orleans
Gosh, where to start? This is the one we had fun with for the accompanying photo. We elevate the art of trash talking with “Send the Po’ Boys Home” in honor of the famous New Orleans sandwich. We also play off traditional jambalaya with “Fumble-Aya.” Panthers Punch, Keep Pounding Cake, chips and buckets of New Orleans beer finish off our spread. We topped a six-foot table with a wheatgrass “field” adding opposing helmets and Panthers paraphernalia to tie it all together.
Dec. 21: The Browns, Cleveland
Ballantyne resident Glenn Lyman, a grill master and friend, says there are only two words to remember: “Beer Brats.” The midwestern fave of bratwurst is perfect for this early winter game.
The Panthers also host the Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so the food options are endless. Start thinking now about “in your face” culinary choices.
Let’s face it – tailgating in synonymous with drinking and we aren’t necessarily talking Cheerwine. And yes, the idea of a “signature” drink has been there done that, but when creating a drink that is popular with the opposing team, it shakes it up a bit. Hurricanes, anyone?
You never can go wrong with beer. It is complex, local and well-loved. So think outside the bottle and feature some amazing local brews in your beverage mix.
BYOK – everyone has them stuffed in a drawer or at the back of the cabinet. A monogram from someone’s wedding or a logo from your favorite hangout, member-guest outing or beach spot adorns them. So, have your guests bring their own koozies and make a game out of explaining where it came from, spurring lively stories about “that night.”
Beyond creating storytelling opportunities, remember to put together a tailgate playlist. Include local favorites for the hometown team, fight songs for that favorite college or university and Top 40 tunes to get everybody jammin’!
Happy tailgating and Go Panthers! Let’s give our opponents a little food for thought!
CAROLINA BRIDE | Elise & Jeremy | The Ritz Carlton
THE KNOT | Anne & Joel | The Grove Park Inn
PREMIER BRIDE MAGAZINE | Cynthia & Willie | The Ballantyne Hotel
PREMIER BRIDE MAGAZINE | Carol & Rick | The Atrium
She adds that it’s not always possible but every guest, especially at a smaller gathering, will love the party even more if his or her favorite beverage is there, along with some favorite foods. “Your friends and family are probably attending a lot of parties, so it is important to come up with some great personalized ideas to make your party different,” said Blazek. Dina Blazek organized an event for which the invitations were personalized snow globes. She then set up a clear tent at the host’s home, giving the illusion of a snow globe. She brought in “snow” and ice and with the band playing “Let It Snow,” she let 300 pounds of confetti loose. “All of the guests looked up in amazement, like children experiencing their first snowfall,” said Blazek.
Copyright Dina Berg Blazek Events