The Olympics hold a special place in my heart. As a kid, I would sit in front of my TV, enthralled by the athletes and their stories. During the winter games, it was tradition to bring newspaper clippings into school, and as a class we would tally the medal counts for each country. I remember how much I loved learning about the rules and scoring systems, but most of all, gathering with my family to cheer on the United States each evening.
As with many traditions, I love the pomp and circumstance of it all, which is what makes that special Opening Ceremony (as well as the closing) such a big night! I keep reminding everyone that will listen, that we really only get about 16 nights of Olympic coverage every other year. Only 16 nights! I love celebrating this temporary season while it lasts.
Which is why I was so excited to get my friends together at my place to watch the Opening Ceremony in early August. Lucky for you, the closing ceremony takes place this Sunday, August 21st. Which means you have plenty of time to gather your gang and throw together a party, biding farewell to these fantastic Rio games. (Swimming with Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky + the gymnastics with Aly Raisman and Simone Biles have been my favorite to watch this year.)
Read on to see how I chose to celebrate the Opening Ceremony with yummy drinks, games and decor. Oh, and how fun is this collection of Olympic ring remakes?
I reused a bunch of decor from my international potluck party; including these printable world flags, gold tassels, and atlas-heart garland. I wanted it to be decidedly different from that potluck, so I tried to lean on the Olympics and avoid reusing everything from before. I tried to bring out any gold decorations I had, plus a few hints of silver. (Guys, I have no bronze stuff.) Although I love the victory that comes from winning that elusive gold medal, I wish there was a way to decorate in gold, while still staying, "I hope everyone does their best and has fun!" I feel for those athletes who work their entire lives, and miss that podium. But, I digress...
Because it is easy, and such a crowd pleaser, I went with my go-to dish: crockpot shredded chicken tacos. I grabbed all the toppings and made rice and beans for the side. For drinks, we had our favorite, Hell or High Watermelon beers from 21st Amendment for the guys and for the girls, a bottle of Skinnygirl Margarita with fruit punch that I froze into ice cubes before the party.
Here I am holding up my DIY Olympic flame, with Matt Lauer in the background. Hi Matt! I threw some gold tassels into a hurricane and ta-da!
For my DIY version of the Olympic rings, I got even craftier and used paper plates covered in the appropriate colored tissue papers. I attempted to make tissue paper poof balls and planned to hang them from the ceiling, staggered, but my poof ball making skills were seriously lacking, thus my switch into paper plates. I used my rotary cutter to cut a rough circle out of the center of the paper plates and mod podged the tissue to each ring. I debated actually interlocking them, but decided against it, and simply hot glued them together, then push pinned them to the wall above the TV. This was the perfect placement since the TV was the focal point of the party. In celebration of this awesome couple weeks, the rings will remain up at my house until the closing ceremony. Perhaps they'll stay intact in my craft closet until the next Olympics, and then a tradition can begin!
The Parade of Nations can drag on, so to break up the evening we played charades: Olympic edition. I looked up every event that was happening in Rio and picked the best ones to act out. Think trampoline, diving, rowing, and gymnastics floor routine.
Of course we were extra excited to see Team USA this year, and our Sacramento Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins! Yay, Boogie!
It was so fun to open up the season with a bunch of my friends at home. I woke up the next morning with the Peru flag draped over my bedroom door. I think that's when you know it was perfectly wild and fun night!