In the Golden Isles, there are few days as highly anticipated as the Georgia-Florida showdown held in Jacksonville. This year, it will return at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday.
While it’s certainly going to be a different event this year — a dramatically reduced crowd capacity, for instance — there’s still plenty of ways to celebrate the occasion. Emily Barton, a local wedding and event planner, is a literal pro at creating memorable soirees.
While always creative with her designs, this year has offered a new set of challenges. But, true to form, Barton has created some truly unique concepts to keep revelers safe while taking in the action on the grid iron.
Here are a few of Barton’s suggestions for a little food, fun and football:
• Charcuterie Board Ideas: Serve individual mini charcuterie bowls instead of single boards so guests don’t have to share off of one board. They have great bamboo disposal bowl options on Amazon that still gives you that elevated look.
• Frito Chile Pie: Place Fritos and cheese in a separate bowl with mini cups of toppings already served on a disposal plate for your guest to simply pick it up and eat.
Opt for disposable tongs and serving utensils for each guest. You can even get creative by putting these in the infamous red solo cup with their name on it prior to arriving.
Or if you’re going for a more laid back kind of tailgate: Pre-order personal pan pizzas, hot wings and ask for mini hot wing boxes, divide up everyone’s wings and everyone can have their food and beverage.
Beverage Idea: (Bring Your Own Beverage/Booze) is always a great idea, especially during a pandemic to continue a hands-off approach and as usual people will get to drink exactly what they want.
If you still are into more of an elevated tailgate party, opt for what I like to call “food and beverage pairings,” a mini tasting of a beverage that complements the food your serving, such as mini hamburger sliders and a light beer — you can also have a heavier beer option. Make sure you communicate in advance on the invitation “serving light hors d’oeuvres ... but feel free to bring additional tailgating snacks + bevies.”
Decor Ideas: Include color coded wristbands that each of your guests can wear that communicates by color and key words how they feel about the current pandemic. These could mean “6 feet or more please,” “ok with close social proximity,” ok with hugging,” etc. you can even get extra creative and have a sign up for fun as a play on this.
Party Favors + Activities:
Party favors could include mini hand sanitizer, personalized cups with disposal utensils, a fun face mask, or themed element like a personalized basket if you are doing a yard party, could be an extra fun element to add to the tailgate party this year.
Gaming Ideas: Games that don’t require any physical contact may be best, such as Bingo, Flip It or Sip It, or wall beer pong, hop scotch for adults ... anytime you miss a square, opps drink again.
Additional Ideas: Offer “Sani Stations” where you have hand sanitizer set up so guests can help themselves when needed. Typically, I recommend putting these upon main entry, around food and beverage areas.
If you have a space large enough outside, and the weather works in your favor for the evening, opt for the good old fashion BYOBB (bring your own basket and beverage) and a blanket, everyone can spread out safely and project the game on the side of your house or on a bed sheet. This allows everyone to keep a safe distance and still enjoy the festivities.
If you are the host, you can also provide baskets, blankets and have a pretty flag stuck in the ground as part of the decor and to communicate where each family will be eating for the evening.