Whoop it up for March Madness!
Host a March Madness Party, once, twice or more! Three weeks of tournament play makes any day a good day for getting together with friends, family or co-workers to watch some good basketball. A viewing party is an easy and fun party to host, so create some “hoopla” this March. Here’s the game plan:
VIEWING PARTY BASICS
- Make sure your television is in good working order. If your cable/satellite provider requires purchase of a NCAA® Tournament package to watch the basketball games you want, place your order and make sure the channel(s) you ordered are working properly before the party. If you want to watch multiple games during your party, bring in some laptops and stream games live, http://www.ncaasports.com/mmod.
- Invite guests to arrive 30 minutes before game time. This allows everyone to catch up before the game starts.
- Create a comfortable “viewing area” where all seats allow for a good view of the game. Bring in extra chairs, stools, ottomans, beanbag chairs, and oversized pillows for additional seating. Make it easy for guests to enjoy food and beverages while watching the game by offering surfaces and coasters for guests to rest glasses and plates.
- Prepare beverages and food ahead of guests’ arrival. Set up a beverage bar and buffet style “bar food” station. Tell guests to make themselves comfortable and help themselves to beverages and food at their convenience throughout the party.
- Always have a designated driver.
Here’s an overview of the NCAA® Tournament schedule. See what date(s) works for you and get going on planning your party. It’s one of the easiest parties to host – all you need are a television, viewing area, bar food, beverages and guests!
Dates to know:
Selection Sunday: March 13, 2011
First Round: March 15-16, 2011
Second Round: March 17-18, 2011
Third Round: March 19-20, 2011
Regional Semifinals: March 24-25, 2011
Regional Finals: March 26-27, 2011
Final Four: April 2 & 4, 2011 –
Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
Electronic invitations are a quick and convenient way to go for this party. Try www.punchbowl.com for a variety of basketball themed electronic invitations.
This party is all about BASKETBALL and being a fan, so plan your menu around these two things. The idea, of course, is to watch and eat at the same time, so serve food you can eat without a fork and knife. Features “bar food” favorites on your menu – items you would find in a sports bar like sliders, pizza, Buffalo wings, chips and dip, and popcorn. Whoop it up with your dessert and serve Whoopie Pies – a definite fan favorite. Finish off the fans in the fourth quarter with a must-have munchie, popcorn.
Tip-off: Set up a beverage bar for your guests to help themselves. Beer and basketball go hand in hand so serve up a variety of beer from some of your favorite basketball teams hometowns. Keep them on ice so guests can grab a cold one as needed. For non-alcoholic beverages stick with the beer theme and offer root beer, birch beer, ginger beer, non-alcoholic beer, in addition to pitchers of lemonade, iced tea and water.
DESSERT IDEA - WHOOPIE PIES!
In honor of basketball’s classic colors, orange and black, whip up a batch these delectable chocolate whoopie pies filled with orange cream. Fans will be whooping it up after they taste this hand-held cake that is just the right balance of sweetness, creaminess and moist cake.
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tbsp. oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick butter
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp. orange food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350°. Using a mixer, mix all cake ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds and then at medium for 2 minutes. Using a small ice cream scoop (1 tbsp.), drop dough onto greased cookie sheet (leave 1 1/2 “ – 2” between each). Bake 8-9 minutes. Cool thoroughly on cooling rack.
- Prepare whoopie pie filling: in mixer, combine softened butter and cream cheese. Mix in vanilla. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well. Add in food coloring and mix thoroughly.
- Using small ice cream scoop, drop filling on center of underside of cake cookie, top with another cake cookie and apply a bit of pressure to distribute filling. Continue with remaining cake cookies until all whoopie pies are assembled.