10 ideas for Olympics Opening Ceremony watch parties

Rio mascot and globe


Where will you be when the world goes to Rio? If you’re like 3.6 billion other humans worldwide, you’ll be in front of a television. And whether you’re watching with a handful or houseful of friends, an event that only happens every four years deserves a some extra effort to make it memorable. Here’s some ideas to make your event medal worthy.

1 Dress like a hero

Encourage your guests to dress like their favorite Olympian. Is anyone bold enough to channel their Mark Spitz (1968, 1972) in a Speedo with nine giant medals? Or Olga Korbit (1972) with her tiny pigtails and leotard? There are so many inspirational Olympians to celebrate; it would be a whole lot of fun to see who is inspired by whom.

norwegian curling team
The Norwegian curling team, circa 2010

2 Channel your favorite team

The opening ceremony with the parade of nations in uniforms designed to reflect their national character is definitely the high point of the Olympic games for fashion fans. Invite your guests to dress in their version of their favorite national team’s spirit wear. Creativity is definitely encouraged. Medals might even be awarded for best use of rhinestones. And although this is the summer games, it is absolutely positively acceptable to dress like the Norwegian curling team, whose pants are so fabulous they have their own Facebook page


greek toga and Belushi toga
Go Greek, toga style.

3 Go Greek, go very Greek

The Olympic games originated in ancient Greece. So why not go all Delta Tau Chi and throw a toga party? Note: This theme is not for those who are history purists. The Greeks might have worn togas, but if statues are to be believed, Olympic athletes did not.

4 Play the match game

Make separate cards with the Olympic logos, Olympic years and Olympic cities for all the modern summer games. See if your guests are able to match all the pieces back together. 

5 Get all muddled

Thanks to the Soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics this year, the internet is drenched in Caipirinha (Kay-pea-reen-yah) cocktail recipes. The essential ingredient, Cachaca (Ca-sha-suh), is a Brazilian rum/brandy liquor distilled down from sugar cane. If you can make a Mojito, you can make a Caipirinha. You need an Old-Fashioned glass, a wooden muddler, ice, lime, sugar and Cachaca. Fine Cooking has a basic recipe, and suggests setting up a muddle-your-own Caipirinha bar with fresh seasonal fruit. 

6 Five rings of festive

The five rings featured on the Olympic flag was designed by one of the founders of the modern Olympic games, Pierre de Coubertin, who picked the colors because if you mixed and matched them, you could create the flag of every country that participated in those first games. Blue, yellow, black, green and red are also great colors to make an awesome buffet. Imagine a composed salad with blueberries, yellow peppers, black olives, green cucumbers and tomatoes. Or maybe tiny cupcakes frosted and arranged in ring formation. Or if you are a master of food color mayhem so you are able to achieve a black ring…a masterwork in interlocking Jello rings would be a certain crowd pleaser.


three metal servers
Medal winning metals from left, gold Briard hot plate, antique caviar spoon, silver plate servers.

7 Metal ceremony

Get out your most eclectic gold encrusted glassware, silver plate servers and your mcm Scandinavian bronze cutlery and dazzle your guests. If metals can be mixed at the medal ceremony, you can certainly mix them on your buffet.

8 Crowd source your smorgasbord

The world is going to Rio, invite the world to your viewing party. Go potluck, but ask your guests to bring an international dish. Something unexpected, something out of the box, something fun. We’ve all heard of Norwegian lutefisk, but have we ever eaten it?

9 Have a virtual viewing party

Of course it’s fun to have a room full of people watching and reacting to the opening ceremony. But it’s also fun to enjoy it with your far flung family and friends around the country and the world via the magic of texting. It’s one time when instead of putting down your phone to enjoy your friends, you can pick it up. Unless your driving.

Grab your hat and keys and head out for a night on the town!

10 Choose the path less traveled

If 3.6 billion humans are watching the Olympics on TV, that means there probably won’t the typical Friday crowds at restaurants and movies. So grab your hat and break free of the flock, stage a bold act of counterintuitiveness and enjoy a night out free from the madding crowd. 






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