Rose Bowl Tailgate Party
Tailgating before a big game has an atmosphere unto itself and is a national passion! Everyone’s spirits are high with hopes and anticipation of victory. Fans of the favored team are nervously excited while fans of the underdog are hoping for the big upset. Joining together with friends to celebrate before the game is a time honored tradition.
Growing up in the shadow of the World Famous Rose Bowl gave me a different perspective on New Year’s Day. The City of Pasadena is brimming with out-of-towners eager to soak up the sunny weather and all the pageantry. I would be remiss if I did not mention the spectacular floral parade, which truly cannot be appreciated unless you are standing in front of these larger than life floats in awe of the beauty, labor, and sheer number of flowers. As a teenager, I volunteered to glue flowers on floats, as that’s where all the cute girls would hang out. Years later as an accomplished designer in my field, I was selected by Tournament officials to judge the parade floats, a prestigious honor shared with celebrities and design specialists that I will never forget. Needless to say, this grand floral event inspires me still, as I take my family every year as part of our New Year’s tradition.
At the Stadium, known as the granddaddy of college football, fans spend the post-parade atmosphere in classic tailgating fashion. Although my alma mater Michigan State Spartans’ trips to Pasadena are few and far between, despite who’s playing, I never turn down an invitation to tailgate on the grassy golf course that surrounds the Rose Bowl stadium.
When tailgating, decorating the car can be part of the fun. A 4” floral foam ball from a craft store is used to create spheres of fresh carnations and foliage. Soak the foam. Create a cage by twisting pipe cleaners (sometimes referred to as chenille stems) together. Insert carnations with two inch stems into the foam ball. Fill in with foliage. To assure you don’t scratch the car, use an additional pipe cleaner when hanging. These can be made days in advance and stored in airtight containers.
Memorabilia Under Glass
For the nostalgic types, laminate old ticket stubs or team photos, and place them along the inside of a glass container filled with flowers. This idea can translate into dozens of different ideas for birthdays and anniversaries!
Sacrifice an old football or better yet, slice into an inexpensive rubber one. Carefully, pack floral foam tightly to maintain shape. Filled with flowers, this football vase holds water and is ready for its tee.
Beer Tasting at the Goal Post Table
A few two by fours and a piece of plywood covered with Astroturf comprise this focal point for the party. Stripes were spray painted on by taping off the turf, to make the field look authentic. Assembled with four bolts, it can tuck into a wagon, truck or SUV and be ready to road trip to the next big game.
Incorporating a beer tasting at a party is a great way to challenge buddies to identify different beers. At this party, it’s the beers that are blindfolded. Wrapped in plastic and tied off with wire, the beers were tagged with a number. Guest were able to sample each beer and jot down their predictions. Note- While an easier wrap for the beer is aluminum foil, savvy beer connoisseurs can identify a beer by the shape of its bottle.
Team Floral Pennants
As the guests meander through the sea of vehicles to locate friends, a team pennant adorned with fresh flowers help them find the spot. Constructed on a foam core triangle, individual flowers were attached with floral adhesive glue. Chrysanthemum blossoms work well here and can last for several days.
Trimmed in white canvas, the Astroturf tablecloth is easy to clean and puts the buffet right on the playing field.
Terracotta Rose Hood Ornament
Granted, this sculptured rose ball is definitely over the top, but for many fans, the opportunity to celebrate at the Rose Bowl is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. A variety of rose called ‘terracotta’ mimic the color of pigskin and are a great splurge for the tailgate celebration crown.
The energy keeps building until finally the time has come to head inside the stadium to watch the two teams battle it out on the field. A bunch of the guests, unable to secure seats in the stadium, are just as happy to stay behind at the tailgate and watch the game on television in the back of the SUV. The thrill of being in the shadow of the Rose Bowl was enough to celebrate.