Fall and football season go hand-in-hand. Here at Summer Classics, hosting gameday get-togethers is a cherished tradition rooted in family & community. With a little help from interior designer Sabrina Pflug of Peach and the Willow, we’ll tackle the topic of outdoor entertaining during football season.
Armed with our easy-to-follow tips for entertaining outdoor for football season, you’ll never get stuck on the sidelines!
“I typically host with all of the doors flung open, creating a very welcoming and casual atmosphere that says “Hey Y’all! We’re glad you’re here!” –– SP
Tasty refreshments are often the building blocks of a great party, but, as Pflug shares, “when the host goes the extra mile with decor, the party can really come to life!” For outdoor entertaining during football season, she creates a cozy “temporary living room outdoors by throwing down a rug, rearranging the furniture and adding candlelight at nightfall.”
- Make a game plan. Before the season begins, map out potential seating arrangements and consider your ideal layout. Will your current outdoor furniture comfortably seat your gameday guests?
- Get the ball rolling. Upgrade important amenities like seating, dining furniture, and/or outdoor technology (i.e. televisions, projection screens, and sound systems). Verify that your furniture layout will not obstruct doors, walkways, or anyone’s view.
- Don’t get stuck on defense. Before guests arrive, strategically place beverage coolers, snack stations, and trash bins around the primary seating areas. Additionally, test drive the tech you plan to use. There’s no time for fumbles after the coin toss.
- Kickoff the season. Mix, mingle, and remember… you’re the real MVP!
Big Screen Dreams: 2 Ways to Optimize Your Viewing Experience
Spotlight On Seating – Every seat should offer a front row experience. For maximum comfort and efficiency, choose an L-shaped outdoor sectional that frames the focal point (in this case, the television) and supports the natural flow of foot traffic.
Stadium-style Cinema – Because a jumbotron probably won’t fit on your patio, we recommend investing in multiple TVs or an outdoor projection screen. Guests rooting for different teams? Pflug shares her diplomatic strategy: “All the flat screens are on, both inside and out, with a variety of ball games for everyone to enjoy.”
Stadium Snacks: Gameday Treats for a Crowd
Chips, dips, and soda pop. You can’t go wrong with everyone’s favorite stadium snacks! Upgrade these three classic treats with our simple gourmet tips.
Chips: Southwest-style nachos are hearty & healthy. Top bluecorn tortilla chips with sautéed onions, roasted corn, diced tomatoes, black beans, lime juice, and crumbled queso fresco.
Dips: For a touch of brightness (and antioxidants!) sprinkle juicy pomegranate seeds over your favorite dip. Try them on guacamole, creamy yogurt dip, or white bean spread.
Drinks: Skip the cans and create your own Italian soda bar. It’s easier than you think! Simply stock the table with seltzer water, flavored syrups, sliced fruit, and ice.
The Halftime Show: Outdoor Entertainment During Football Season Takes Center Stage
Let’s face it, not every guest will be engrossed by the on-screen action. A few thoughtful extras will take your gameday gathering to the next level.
- Lawn Games – Inspire friendly competition with casual lawn games like horseshoes, cornhole, or bocce. Keep coolers and snacks nearby so players can fuel up.
- Arts & Crafts – If you’re expecting young guests, an arts & crafts station is sure to please. Provide no-mess materials like construction paper & washable markers. Don’t forget to add kid-friendly snacks to the table!
- Musical Entertainment – Live music is always a special treat. Hire a neighborhood band to perform 20-30 minutes before kickoff, or tune up the acoustic guitar during halftime. During commercial breaks, keep the energy high with your best playlist.
The Big Chill: Cold-Weather Accessories
Don’t let the chilly autumn weather bother your guests. Pile a thick stack of blankets within reach, and plan to serve hot beverages around sunset. Warm apple cider, hot cocoa, and gourmet coffee are great seasonal options.
Football Shaped Chicken Cheeseball
Sabrina’s signature recipe for her gameday buffet.
2 8oz cream cheese
1 12oz can white chicken breast
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups pecans, chopped
4 green onions, green parts only, chopped
Any white cheese for making the football lace
Combine first five ingredients with 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans. Form into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour. Meanwhile, toast the remaining pecans in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes. Chop the green tops of the green onion. Cool pecans.
Form cheeseball into the shape of a football. Cut any white cheese into strips to create the laces of the football. Roll football in chopped pecans and green onions. Place the white cheese laces. Serve with assorted crackers.
A Better Bonfire: Modern Fire Features
Bonfires are nostalgic, but high-maintenance. (And pose potential safety hazards.) Instead, gather around a flickering fire of the modern variety. Sleek fire pits and fire tables provide warmth with upscale appeal.