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How to Host the Best Summer Olympics-Themed Party

Family fun and backyard parties go hand in hand. Hosting a Summer Olympics-themed party can be lots of fun! Plan your fête amusante and get into the spirit of the 2024 Summer Olympics, held this year in Paris, from July 26 to August 11.

Let the games begin
First, decide how far you will take the Olympics party theme – do you simply want to hop on the bandwagon and show enthusiasm for the sporty season? Or will you go all-in and have your guests compete in backyard events? A low-key adult crowd might prefer playing a round of trivia or taking part in a scavenger hunt to search for Olympic Gold, whereas a younger or active crowd might love a rousing game of Capture the Flag or relay-racing in a hippity hop “equestrian” event. You know your friends. Choose activities your guests will enjoy. 

When you send out your invitations — whether by mail, Evite or text message — include details like the date, time and location and also include the dress code. If you’re expecting your guests to compete in late-summer outdoor games, they’ll want to be dressed appropriately and comfortably. Be mindful of the safety and comfort of your guests, and ensure your party space is safe. Provide shade, seating and access to water. Having dedicated party areas inside and outside will be so appreciated. 

Prizes, decorations & other special touches
The Olympic colors are blue, yellow, black, green and red. Of course, the colors of the United States and France are red, white and blue (which are easily found or repurposed after July 4th festivities). 

Create a playlist featuring popular songs from around the world. Set up a photo booth where guests can take pictures with props related to the Olympics. At the end of the party, hold an awards ceremony and award participation medals. Pinterest is ripe with ideas for games, activities and clever decorations. 

You could set a menu entirely of French cuisine or serve various foods from different countries and regions inspired by the Olympic spirit. Don’t forget your “food stadium” should be completed by a “finish line” of desserts! 

Have fun and encourage friendly competition among your guests — even if it’s just to determine who brought the tastiest dish to the potluck. 

Perfect 10 recipes

  • Brazilian Feijoada: a hearty pork and black bean stew served with rice and oranges
  • Greek Gyros: grilled meats wrapped in pita bread with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and onions
  • Japanese Sushi: assorted sushi rolls with fish, veggies and rice — so cool and fresh on a hot summer day!
  • Mexican Street Tacos: small handheld tacos easily customized with various fillings such as beef, chicken or vegetables
  • Italian Pasta Salad: no summertime party is complete without a savory chilled pasta salad
  • American BBQ sliders: mini sandwiches with pulled pork or chicken served on Hawaiian dinner rolls and slaw
  • Spanish Paella: a flavorful rice dish with seafood, chicken and veggies
  • French Crepes: sweet or savory crepes filled with Nutella, fruit, cheese or ham and cheese
  • German Pretzels: soft pretzels served with grainy mustard

To add to the international theme of the party, you can also serve drinks popular in different countries, such as caipirinhas from Brazil, sangria from Spain, or French 75 Punch (recipe below). It’s a refreshing and elegant cocktail that combines gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar. This punch is light and citrusy, perfect for a summer party! 

French 75 Punch
(serves 8-10)

  • 1 750 ml bottle of gin (or lemon-lime soda)
  • 1 750 ml bottle of sparkling wine or champagne (or Simply® Lemonade)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, dissolved together) 
  • Lemon twists for garnish (optional) 
  • Lemon-flavored sparkling water or club soda (optional) – or lemon sorbet 

In a large punch bowl or pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir gently. Chill thoroughly before serving in the fridge or the freezer if you prefer a slushy drink. To serve, spoon or pour the punch into glasses and garnish with a lemon twist (optional). If guests find the concoction too strong, top their glass with a splash of citrus-flavored sparkling water or club soda — or you can even pour the beverage over a scoop of lemon sorbet. Très bien! For the littles or a non-alcoholic drink option, substitute your favorite lemon-lime soda for the gin and Simply® Lemonade for the sparkling wine. 

Raise a glass to a fantastique bash this summer. The “games are wide open” is this year’s Olympics theme, so use your own creativity and avant-garde spirit to create red-white-and-blue memories for your friends and family, right here in Virginia!

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