IT’S Grand Final weekend a.k.a the biggest celebration in the Australia. Converted footy fanatic Tracy Pham has tips on how to host a great party on the cheap.
Around the country, Grand Final day is punctuated by the sound of cheers, the chime of the cheese knife hitting the platter and the cracking of beers.
If you ask most Melburnians, they’ll tell you the Australian Rules Football (AFL) Grand Final is more important than the Olympics, World Cup soccer final or Wimbledon.
Whether you’re a passionate face-painted supporter shouting yourself hoarse at the television or a devout sport-avoider, an AFL Grand Final party is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and bring your friends together for a fantastic weekend celebration.
Even if you don’t go for either of the teams in the Grand Final, there are no rules that say you can’t pick one to support for the day.
Face paint is essentially all you need for the Grand Final. Buy the team colours from Spotlight or your local craft store and show your pride! Have enough face paint for guests so they can wear the team colours as well.
Even if you don’t support the two finalist teams, get on board and pick your favourite. The 2013 finalists, Hawthorn and Fremantle, have fantastic logos that you can do more than just face paint. Get creative! Work flag or team details into a flowery or sparkly outfit or match your knee high socks and skirts combo to the team’s colours.
Make sure your viewing area is up to par by bringing in extra chairs, pillows and even TVs, if possible, to provide an unobstructed view for everyone. Add a few folding tray tables so every guest has a place to set down their snacks and drinks.
Then throw in anything with the two teams’ logo on it — napkins and tablecloths, balloons, cups, whatever you want. Don’t leave your decorations to the last minute though in case others have the same idea and the shops run out!
Shop around. You don’t need to break the bank to get the team colours. Fremantle’s colours are purple, red, white and green, while Hawthorn’s are brown and yellow. If you have a look at $2 shops or other bargain stores you might find decorations with these team’s logos on it, but plain streamers and balloons in those colours work just as well!
Food & Drink
Beer is a natural with pretty much any sport, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink it. If you want to be authentic, you can buy non-alcoholic beer from your local supermarket or some sparkling apple juice to fill the cups. Soft drinks are great too!
For a true Grand Final party, win your guests over with a buffet of classic Australian treats like hot dogs, pies, sausage rolls and chips. You can find the recipes from the Taste Australia website. They’re all easy, quick and can be made with a few ingredients in a kitchen of any size.
Otherwise if you’re in a rush, you can buy all of these in frozen form from your supermarket. A great way to add some flair to your buffet table is to offer plenty of condiments. Don’t just think tomato sauce. Provide little bowls of mustard, grilled onions, bacon, hot sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Or get creative and mix sweet chilli with mayonnaise. The more condiments, the better.
For food you can eat with your eyes glued to the screen, think corn or potato chips, crackers, dips and salsa. Make an antipasti platter with all your favourite treats like cheese, pickles, pickled onions, cold deli meats, olives and bread sticks.
Liven up your favorite plain vanilla butter cake or chocolate cake recipe by decorating it to look like a football oval. You can make your own cupcakes or buy plain ones and ice them with the team colours. Be sure to look for lollies in the team colours to decorate the tops. Coke bottles and banana lollies would work for Hawthorn. White, green, red and purple jelly beans will do for Fremantle.
And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the celebrations with your friends, regardless of which team wins in the end.
Do you have any tips for a cracking Grand Final party? Share with us below!