So, you’ve put your hand up to be the host or hostess-with-the-mostess for this year’s Australia Day festivities. If you’re like all true blue Aussies who religiously celebrate this day every year on 26 January, you’ll know that a decent Australia Day party calls for beers, barbecuing, backyard cricket and decent grub. If, however, you’d like your shindig to be a step up from last year’s snooze fest the neighbours threw, you’ll need to do a little more than throw some shrimp on the barbie. Fear not, we’ve got all the tips you need to throw the ultimate Australia Day party.
Location, location, location
Our love of the great outdoors is the reason why Australia is known as the sunburnt country. Unless it’s blowing a gale this Australia Day, hosting your party in any other location other than your backyard is so un-Australian. Get your own slice of the great outdoors into gear ahead of the celebrations by mowing the lawn, removing the dog poop, sussing out the best seating arrangements and organising a decent amount of shade.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie …
Australians love to celebrate at the best of times, but give them a dedicated public holiday to rejoice in being Australian and you’re in for a real treat. If the party gauntlet is in your hands this year, it’s up to you to give your guests a shrine to all things Australian with as many Aussie Day decorations as you can handle. From Aussie flags to toy koalas, blow-up kangaroos, native flower arrangements and paper lanterns, your decorating options are endless. Raise the bar high this year by giving your guests complementary Aussie Day thongs and temporary flag tattoos.
Fair dinkum food
Aside from buying enough booze, having a great selection of genuine Aussie foods is on the docket when hosting an Australia Day party. Since your Aussie Day celebrations are likely to start mid-morning and carry on until well after dark, the key is buying enough food to keep all your guests full and happy. Start serving the pre-lunch snacks as soon as guests arrive and keep them coming until lunch is served. Aside from the customary chips and dip, few foods are more fair dinkum than mini pies and sausage rolls with tomato sauce.
Next, it’s onto the main course. Buying oodles of snags, steaks and shrimp to chuck on the barbie is mandatory, and you can’t go wrong with a good selection of salads and breads, potatoes, a couple of chooks and maybe even some chilled oysters. And finally, the piece de resistance: dessert. Serve up a treat to the masses with Pavlovas piled high with delicious fruits and cream, a tower of lamingtons and perhaps a platter of fairy bread (you’re sure to be a hit if there’s kids about).
Even if you’ve created a flawless guest list that can’t fail, it’s a host/hostess’ responsibility to provide entertainment to keep all guests entertained. Lucky for you, Australia Day comes with its own foolproof crowd-pleaser: backyard cricket. Make sure you designate a section of your backyard for the cricket pitch, and make sure you avoid a cabbage patch scenario by mowing the grass a little shorter on the pitch. Want to raise the bar even higher? A handy cricket cooler makes the perfect set of wickets and – more importantly – will keep the beers cool and close at hand during the game.
If you’ve got a backyard swimming pool, there’s no better time to make the most of it than on Australia Day. Entice guests into the pool with fun inflatable pool toys – who wouldn’t be tempted by a colourful inflatable pineapple or an inflatable flamingo on a hot summer’s day?
Finally, you’ll need a swag of Aussie tunes playing throughout the day to kick the festivities into high gear. Keep young and old Aussies happy with a mix of contemporary and classic hits from Cold Chisel, ACDC, Gotye, John Farnham, INXS, Sia and of course Men At Work.