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Prep now for an easy Super Bowl party celebrating Turlock's sports hero
[January 31, 2013]

Prep now for an easy Super Bowl party celebrating Turlock's sports hero

Jan 31, 2013 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- There's a little something coming up that (understatement alert) is cause for celebration around these parts.

It would prompt many to host a gathering under normal circumstances, but now has the greater Modesto region in full-fledge party-hearty frenzy mode.

It's the Super Bowl, of course, and the big game looms oh-so much larger this year. Not only is a Northern California team playing, but that team's sudden-superstar quarterback hails from Turlock, and his parents now live in Modesto.

Hello, party time! Fans will gear up for next Sunday's big game in a big way, with many hosting soirees celebrating the San Francisco 49ers and quickly accomplished quarterback Colin Kaepernick. A few might be rooting for that other team that's also playing (we hear they're from the East Coast or someplace), and others might just want an excuse to throw a party.

No matter why you're inviting folks over, consider elevating your Super Bowl party by tapping into the hometown fun with decor and serving ware that celebrate the connection.

Because Super Bowl parties tend to be more laid-back events, there's no reason to stress: The focus is on the game, not the accoutrements. But part of the fun still lies in making the surroundings reflect what's unfolding on the big screen.

And it's important to get a good game plan together now so you're prepared when kickoff comes later.

Party stores in the region are now, or will be, receiving their shipments of 49er party ware, from plates and napkins to wind-up toys. Spokespeople at some stores said their supplies were exhausted by the Niners' successful playoff run. But fear not, party planners, they say more is on the way and will be here in time for the big game.

Most wares are mass-produced and aren't specific to Turlock pride Kaepernick -- no No. 7 references on those 49er paper cups -- but there are options to Kap-ernize your event.

Grand Events in Modesto, for example, makes custom banners that can be personalized any way customers want, and in a variety of sizes. There also are pre-made banners available, touting the Niners, specifically, or the Super Bowl, in general.

Then there are the balloons. At least a couple of local balloon purveyors are all over the 49er theme, and one in particular has embraced the Kaepernick connection, full on -- and almost at full size.

At Cloud 9 Balloon Co. in Modesto, owner Leslie Akulow has created a party decoration that's sure to get guests' attention: a nearly life-size balloon statue of Kaepernick, complete with No. 7 on the "jersey," a football in hand -- and even a nod to those famous tattoos.

"It's a stand-up character, about 5, 6 feet tall with big muscles. We make him look like Kaepernick," Akulow said. "It's really funny." She said she was making a standard-issue 49er (she's done such twist-balloon creations before) when her husband suggested they make him look like the Pitman High graduate and standout quarterback. The balloon statue will sell for $45, plus a $10 delivery fee, Akulow said.

At My Little Balloon Co. on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, owner Denise Seymour said she expects balloon bouquets to be popular, particularly her $17 bouquet, which can be either tall, to set up on the floor, or shorter, for a table top. The store will offer balloons for Baltimore Ravens fans, too, or in a more team-neutral Super Bowl theme, she said.

She's expecting a lot of orders between now and next weekend.

"Usually, the last thing (party hosts) do is get balloons," Seymour said. "A few years ago, when the Raiders were in (the Super Bowl), we did so many parties -- like 100 different parties for that." When asked about ideas for party decor, Seymour suggested getting a bundle of helium-filled balloons in your team's colors and turning them loose on the ceiling, with the ribbons hanging down.

"It gives a fun party feeling to the room," she said. "You can never have too many balloons if you're going to have a party." Some other tips for a super Super Bowl gathering: FOOD & DRINK A Super Bowl party isn't complete without a good spread. This year's matchup pitting San Francisco against Baltimore makes crab a particularly appropriate idea. Hot crab dip with toasted sourdough bread or pita chips for dipping keeps the team locales in mind while being a crowd-pleaser.

Another idea: Set up various bars for people to customize their options. Make-your-own bars also keep things easy on the host.

Try a bloody mary bar with pickles, string beans, asparagus and different spices available for guests to concoct their own drink.

Staples like chili, hot dogs and nachos also are solid options and lend themselves to build-your-own stylings.

And then there's the lucky No. 7 angle. Since that's the number on Kap's jersey, it's a party theme in the making, for sure.

Incorporate it into your party by serving up an old-school adult drink-favorite, the 7-and-7 -- call it a High(foot)ball -- with, of course, 7UP and Seagrams 7.

Another easy idea: Make a seven-layer dip with refried beans, ground beef, shredded cheese, chopped fresh scallions, salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

Hosts also should be sure to not overlook the dessert table. You can make your own, or tap into the Kaepernick craze that has kicked in at a few area bakeries.

Olde Tyme Pastries in Turlock has been making cookies shaped like, among other things, the QB's jersey.

At Village Baking Co. in Modesto, they're offering a custom-order cake in the shape of his muscular arm for $170, with the profit going to the Red Shield Center, according to owner Joanne Ramos.

At Frost Bakery & Fine Foods in Turlock and Modesto, they're baking up "Kapcakes" -- cupcakes made of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and edible gold dust with a No. 7 on top. Ten percent of sales for the Kapcakes goes to the Pitman High School Booster Club and another 10 percent to Camp Taylor, at Kaepernick's request via his agent, owner Shelly Koch said.

Asked if they were getting a lot of orders, she said: "We are. Everybody's really excited." MORE ON DeCOR Mass-produced Super Bowl decorations are a quick go-to idea, but you can add flair to that standard fare with some clever twists. The above-mentioned banners and balloon ideas can personalize your party. Other ideas include livening up the buffet table by using football helmets for chip bowls (for food safety, get unused helmets and line them with a food-friendly wrap or foil) and safety cones for plate risers. Set up footballs on tees on either end of your buffet table or as part of the centerpiece.

Akulow, at Modesto's Cloud 9 Balloon Co., also suggests buying AstroTurf- style artificial grass at home-improvement stores. The turf can be cut out and used as a tablecloth or as coasters.

A Toronto-based party planner suggests laying out chalkboard paper (available at craft stores) with yard lines and sidelines drawn onto it for people to write out their own plays.

Party City, with stores in Modesto and Turlock, also carries plenty of festive football products, including some maybe less expected, such as 49er beads, face tattoos, scarves and aprons, according to corporate representative Ressa Tomkiewicz.

"The 49er gear is going to go fast," she said.

IMPORTANT DETAILS Of course, the game is center stage, which makes the timing of the party important. Start your party at least one hour before kickoff to give people time to mingle and settle in with a drink so they can focus on the game when it begins.

And don't forget about the kids, who might not know a lineman from a quarterback. Organize activities for them to stay occupied, such as a coloring or craft station.

Keeping the kids in mind is part of the wares at Grand Events in Modesto, where they have 49er capes for little football superheroes and 49er tiaras to crown the girls.

McClatchy-Tribune news contributed to this report.

___ (c)2013 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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