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Thread: Pool Party tips!

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    JenniferJuniper2's Avatar
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    Pool Party tips!

    So my husband and I are about to throw our 2nd ever pool party in a few weeks (we just got a house with a pool about 2 years ago). I feel like I learned a lot from last year's party, but am wondering if any of you more experienced party-throwers have tips to share!

    Last year's party went pretty well but I felt like we had too many people (37 total) for our smallish space. Also, I bbq'd for everyone, which meant everyone was trying to eat around the same time (since the food was ready pretty much all at once), which necessitated tables/chairs, which took up more room. This time we are solving these problems by inviting fewer people and doing a nacho bar (food will be in crock pots, etc ahead of time so everyone can nibble throughout the day when they want).

    What are some more good ideas?
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Here is a recent thread, find Bo's post, he is party master extraordinaire. We should all sneak into their parties!

    Share with me all the things you do to have a successful summer fling pool party!
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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Thanks for the kind words pooldv!

    The CliffsNotes version of the post referenced above is:
    1. Have ways to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. You don't want everyone's memory of the party to be an outbreak of food poisoning. You can buy relatively inexpensive chafing pans & supports at warehouse clubs along with the portable fuel to go with them. To keep cold foods cold, double-insulated serving bowls along with crushed ice work well. Even better if the bowls are chilled in the fridge until just before serving time. Those Blue Ice packs are also good to have on hand.
    2. Ideally, plan your menu a week in advance and take inventory of your pantry. You will now have plenty of time to make a grocery run for the items you need.
    3. Do as much prep as you can during the day or two leading up to the party. If you think about it, you can do advanced prep on most of your menu items. Same goes for getting the patio arranged. The easier you can make the morning of the party for yourself, the less stressed you will be and the party will be that much better.
    4. Do not keep baked potatoes wrapped in foil at room temperature to keep warm after they have been baked. This has been linked to botulism! More details are available in the aforementioned thread.
    5. Ice...better to have too much than not enough. Of course, you will need the space to keep it frozen. Make sure you have plenty of coolers on hand. If they are in the attic, garage, or other hot environment in summer, bring them into a temperature-controlled environment the day before the party. The ice will keep much longer. If you entertain a lot (like I do), you may want to consider a chest freezer that is used exclusively for storing ice (and maybe some ice-cream treats). I went this route and it's been a life-saver.
    6. Everyone (over 21) loves adult beverages...I know I do! But make sure there is plenty of bottled water available so everyone stays well-hydrated. The next morning you, and your guests, will be glad you did.
    7. Keep meat bastes & sauces above 140F at all times. This is an often-overlooked source of food poisoning . Here’s a typical scenario: You decide to use some marinade or BBQ sauce as a baste or finish dressing. Even if the sauce/baste was first brought to a boil or to “bubbling”, some bacterial spores that were present within might survive. If it is allowed to cool to ambient air temperature, any surviving spores could “hatch” in the cup of basting sauce you’ve had sitting next to the grill for a few hours and that you just applied to the meat.


    If you want additional tips, I would suggest reading the thread that pooldv mentioned above. Lots of good ideas from several members.
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Check out Pinterest.... great ideas there too!
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Jennifer look over there <<<<<<<<<

    See that It means "Expert" Party Crasher

    So I'm in Sacramento was my invitation lost? I make a mean margarita.

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    JenniferJuniper2's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Good tips! Well we are planning a nacho bar so most of the food (meat, cheese, chili) will be kept warm in crock pots. But I do need to keep the salsa, guac, and sour cream cold. I was going to set the bowls of toppings in a big tray of ice to keep them cold.

    I had no idea keeping potatoes in foil was a bad idea though. I am not doing potatoes at my party but I have kept them that way many times before. Yikes!

    Last year we had a lot of people but only a few actually went in the pool. I am not sure if this means they weren't having fun or if they were just shy.

    Here's a tip I learned last year: if you have a big glass drink dispenser filled with alcoholic fruit punch, make sure to label it as alcohol or the moms of the group will get mad. (I don't have kids so I do not think of these things). Don't worry, no kids actually drank any before the issue was taken care of.
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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferJuniper2
    I had no idea keeping potatoes in foil was a bad idea though. I am not doing potatoes at my party but I have kept them that way many times before. Yikes!
    I didn't either up until about 2 years ago. Here's a resource: Botulism | FoodSafety.gov. Like most of us, I did that for years and never had an issue. However, I stopped doing this once I verified that it was true. Just to be clear, baking the potatoes in foil is fine...the potential issue is removing them from the heat source while leaving them wrapped in foil at room or patio temperatures for more than 1-2 hours depending on the ambient air temperature. If you place the foil-wrapped potatoes in a warming tray or similar heat source, you'll be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferJuniper2
    Here's a tip I learned last year: if you have a big glass drink dispenser filled with alcoholic fruit punch, make sure to label it as alcohol or the moms of the group will get mad. (I don't have kids so I do not think of these things).
    Great tip! Like you, we don't have kids either and this is something I would not have thought to do. Although we never had problems with this, I will go the extra mile and apply the labels.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    If you ban cameras, more people will be willing to actually get in the pool.
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    This sounds tongue-in-cheek but I've had the opportunity to test this theory at 4 years of parties, several of them at 30-50 guests. If at least one of the hosts is actually IN THE POOL, you will dramatically increase participation in swimming I am now usually that sacrificial host.

    You'll need a host partner to be in charge of looking to the needs of land lubbers, and it doest hurt to have an appointed "staffer or two" ( can be family members, but I actually pay a few people to help run bar, fill drinks, bring out food etc. for business parties) with premixed pitchers, eg, beergaritas avail to refill for people in the pool.

    People take their cues from the host.

    I still spend a lot of time walking around mingling, but do so wet. It makes pople want to swim and not care what their makeup looks like

    Bo's tips are excellent. I figured a few of them out a while back and bought chafing dishes, commercial coffee urns, a couple of 5 gal cooler dispensers for beergaritas, sets of plastic shooter glasses, etc. I rent big ice tub for day of to manage ice on the biggest party. I also now keep food tables indoors in either the pool house or dining room and have a directed traffic flow. (DR opens via slider to pool, but there is also a side entrance to area.) This helps control food temps and cut down on hornets etc. and makes cleanup easie with large numbers.

    But the biggest thing I figured out was just because I catered part time in college and am a good cook doesn't mean I should do so day of if dealing with more than say 20 adults, or I won't actually have time to visit with any of thm . While I prep, mix, and select my own food, I now hire someone to grill for bigger parties, another to manage putting out and refilling foods, and 1-2 for the bar. The bar is easiest to handle when providing something pre made and dispensable set out in pitchers. I've found beergaritas perfect for this as beer drinkers will drink them and mixed drinkers will drink them
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Swampwoman I think you're right that people take their cues from the host! Other than kids (and a couple of moms helping their very young kids) we didn't have many people in the pool last year....until after I got thrown in. Lol!

    Last year I made the mistake of trying to cook for like 37 people. I was just grilling pre-made patties and hot dogs but it was still too much. And with my husband helping me out, neither one of us ended up getting in until late in the party.

    Do tell...what are beergaritas?!
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    JenniferJuniper2's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Swampwoman I think you're right that people take their cues from the host! Other than kids (and a couple of moms helping their very young kids) we didn't have many people in the pool last year....until after I got thrown in. Lol!

    Last year I made the mistake of trying to cook for like 37 people. I was just grilling pre-made patties and hot dogs but it was still too much. And with my husband helping me out, neither one of us ended up getting in until late in the party.

    Do tell...what are beergaritas?!
    15k gal freeform sport pool with rock waterfall. Replastered 5/2016 with Tahoe Blue Quartzscapes
    Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 test kit
    Jacuzzi 2002 J 310

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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    A beergaritas is a Margarita mix with beer instead of or sometimes with Tequila. Tastes better than you think.

    I generally assign grilling to an older child (ok he's 21)

    If I have a lot of children I hire a teenager to watch the pool. Just sit in a lawn chair and watch.

    Last week at my 7th graders end of school party her older brother and I went by the pool every ten minutes or so and counted heads.
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    JenniferJuniper2's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Party tips!

    Less than 5 days till party time! I've done all my grocery shopping and planned the nacho bar menu. I bought big aluminum trays to fill with ice to keep the salsas/sour cream/etc cold, and have enough crock pots to keep the meat/beans/rice warm. I got a giant inflatable ring toss game at Target that looks pretty cool too. Any other last minute tips? How long is it safe to keep the hot food in the crock pots? Assuming the pots do their job of keeping the temps at 140 F, is there a time limit? I checked the crock pot website and it recommends keeping food on "warm" for only 2 hours, but it sounds like that's more for food quality (i.e. to prevent drying out, etc) than for safety but it wasn't really clear. I've eaten food from crock pots many times that were left warming for at least a few hours and nothing happened, but still.

    I am obviously too stressed out about this party. I had a nightmare last night that our pool got algae the night before the party. Yikes!
    15k gal freeform sport pool with rock waterfall. Replastered 5/2016 with Tahoe Blue Quartzscapes
    Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 test kit
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