Celebrate March Madness with a Viewing Party
by Lindsey Paholski
As March draws to a close, the madness of college basketball is well underway. Whether you follow NCAA basketball for the whole season or have made a habit of just tuning in for March Madness, the next couple of weeks are the perfect time to host a viewing party for the biggest game in your bracket.
The Sweet Sixteen is coming up on March 28th and 29th, with the Elite Eight following on the 30th and 31st. You’ll also definitely want to be ready to cheer on the Final Four on April 6 and April 8 as they fight it out for the championship! After you set a date for your party, it’s time to get busy with the other preparation for your big event.
Decorations: You’re the host, so you have the right to deck out your home in support of whatever team you’re cheering for. It’s fine if all your guests don’t agree, but they’re at your home, so they have to deal with it. Hang pennants on the wall and add plenty of balloons and streamers. If you want to be more neutral so you don’t start a feud with any of your guests, stick with orange balloons and use a black permanent marker to draw lines on them so they look like basketballs.
Munchies & beverages: People expect food to be out from the moment they arrive, so be ready with plenty to munch on. Put together your own snack mix with cereal, pretzels, raisins, dried fruit, and your other favorite items. Popcorn is another easy and inexpensive snack to serve. For beverages, stock your refrigerator or a cooler with plenty of alcoholic drinks and sodas. You may also want to make a festive punch in your team’s color, with the help of lemon-lime soda, sherbet, and a little food coloring.
Viewing area: People are there to watch the game, so consider whether your TV and seating area are in the ideal setup for guests. You may need to move furniture around, especially if that puts the TV in a position where you can see it from the next room over, too. Then add plenty of comfortable seating, including floor cushions to add another level so you can pack more people in to watch the game.
Main dish menu: In addition to snacks, plan to bring out some more substantial food at halftime. These favorites all appeal to a wide range of people:
- Baked chicken wings, whether you use frozen ones or start with fresh chicken and make your own wing sauces the night before
- Sliders with an assortment of toppings so people can put together their own flavor combinations
- Hot buffalo chicken dip with blue cheese, mozzarella, sour cream, spicy buffalo sauce and shredded chicken, all served with chips or toasted baguette slices
Your March Madness party is your chance to show off what a wonderful host you can be. Invite your closest friends over for a loud evening of cheering on your favorite teams. Just don’t forget to prepare as much as you can in advance so you can kick back and enjoy the game with all of your guests.