Ah, September. Its the best. The heat finally breaks, the kids go back to school, and best of all…College Football is back!
The traditions, the legacy, the rivalry, I love it. I mean, if you’re into NFL, sure, that is acceptable, whatever, but College is where it’s at.
So why not celebrate your favorite team, and throw a tailgate bash at home? Backyard Football Party it is!
Vintage, Autumn, Tailgate. Crispy cool air and warm twinkly lights. This is where my mind went when starting to look for inspiration for this party. I love that old school, well, school look: Fall palette, plaid, a scarf. Collegiate colors. And if you’ve never tailgated in the South, it’s a Thing. Full-on furnishings, the good plates, and the best food. It’s quite the bash.
What is the most important thing for a backyard football party? The game. The rest will fall into place. I kept the rest classic with lightweight red Adirondacks, a vintage-looking cooler for soda and woven plaid scarves on the serving table. LED string lights add sparkle. Pick your favorite team pennant or an entire division – I’m partial to the Big 10 (Go Big Red!) but would also allow the SEC (War Eagle! – or GO Dawgs! because UGA is a National Treasure). I’m dying to buy this video set up for not only backyard football games but a backyard movie fest. Wouldn’t that be fun?
STRING LIGHTS: Lowes – $54.98
ADIRONDACK CHAIRS: Lowes – $17.98 each (2 shown)
BURLAP TABLE COVER: Amazon – $41.23
PLAID SCARVES: Blue & Yellow, Amazon – $12.99; Red Plaid, Amazon – $14.89
COOLER: Coleman – $124.99
PUNCH DISPENSER: Amazon – $18.56
PAPER STRAWS: Etsy – $4.50
THERMAL CUP: Amazon – $22.99 / 100
PAPER TRAY: Amazon – $8.99 / 50
WOODEN SPOONS: Amazon – $9.96 / 100
FLAG NAPKINS: Party City – $8.99 / 125
GALVANIZED TRAY: Save On Crafts – $29.99
METAL BUCKET: Home Depot – $4.46
CAKE PEDESTAL: Party City – $6.99
PENNANTS: College Flags & Banners – $64.95 / set of 14
POM POM: Amazon
My rules for party food:
Here’s my straightforward savory menu for a backyard football party crowd:
ASSORTED CHICKEN WINGS
CRISPY VEG PLATTER
BACON CHEESEBURGER SLIDERS
NEW POTATO SALAD
VEGETARIAN CHILI WITH CORN CHIPS & TRADITIONAL TOPPINGS
VEG PLATTER, served on a large wood cutting board: Recipe at Always Order Dessert, prepped in advance
WINGS, served on a sheet pan with parchment paper: Did you know you can advance order already cooked wings from the deli at Publix and then toss them with your own sauces…well, you can and you’re welcome; pick these up from the store the morning of the party
SLIDERS, served on a sheet pan: Recipe at Merry About Town, all the toppings prepped in advance and then assembled and warmed right before the party
POTATO SALAD, served in a big mixing bowl: Recipe at Martha Stewart, made in advance
VEGETARIAN CHILI, served in a slow cooker: Recipe by Cooking Light at MyRecipes.com , made in advance, then warmed on the stove before going into the slow cooker
TOPPINGS, served in the metal bucket & small bowls: Frito Corn Chips, Shredded Cheddar, Sour Cream & Minced Green Onions, prepped in advance
To finish off the day of eats and a ballgame, have a sweet treat like these pecan bars. If people don’t want to dig in right away, I like to keep some paper or glassine bags handy so people can take one home with them. A little gift to-go is always a nice touch.
Just like the food, I like to do a mix of drink options: something bought, something made, something for everyone. For this backyard football party, I would make a spiked punch, and put BYOB on the invitation – otherwise, you’ll end up with a ton of random beer that nobody drank. Doing just a punch and then non-alc sodas and water keeps the cost down and gives everybody something to choose from.
And not only are these vintage sodas on the theme, but they’ll be a conversation starter. When was the last time you saw a bottle of NEHI?!?! The bottles would also make a great favor if you wanted to.
BUBBLE UP: North Market Pop Shop – $2.40 / bottle
NEHI: North Market Pop Shop – $2.40 / bottle
DR. PEPPER: North Market Pop Shop – $2.40 / bottle
PECAN BARS, served on the white cake stand: Recipe at The Thankful Heart, made in advance
BOURBON PUNCH, served in the drink dispenser: Recipe by Natalie Chanin & Butch Anthony at Bon Appetit, adapted to be made in advance by making a 4x batch and not shaking it
THREE WEEKS OUT
Create a FB event or send out an email to the guests
Order all Supplies from Online Vendors
TWO WEEKS OUT
Test the Screen Set-Up in the Backyard
String the Lights
Write your Grocery & Drink Lists for Shopping
ONE WEEK BEFORE
Clean Your House
Complete Grocery & Drink Shopping
Order Wings from Grocery Store
THREE DAYS BEFORE
Check on RSVPs, let everybody know about parking if necessary
TWO DAYS BEFORE
Bake Pecan Bars
Prep Veg Tray
Make Slider Meat & Bacon & prep rolls
Make Potato Salad
Prep Garnish for Chili
Shower & get yourself ready, first
Go Pick up Wings & Ice for Cooler at Grocery Store
Put Sodas in Cooler
Set up Screen & Projector
Place Chairs around the backyard
Set up Serving Table & Decor
Put GameDay on the big screen
AS GUESTS ARRIVE
Pour them (and yourself) a drink
Set out the Food
Then just party your pants off!
The fall is the perfect time to throw a party. It’s not too busy yet, and the weather is dreamy. So GO TEAM and get to it!
If you ever need help with the planning or have another theme you’d like to do, let me know. I’ll be here whenever you’re ready!
Celebrate the best part of the season with a Vintage Autumn Tailgate.