Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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Columnist Tom Gorman: On the horrors of hosting a party. How much food and drink do you buy?

Tom Gorman's column runs Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at [email protected] or at (702) 259-2310.

If you throw big parties at your house, tell me how you do it.

Jeanne and I are hosting an open house Sunday and frankly, I worry that we're in over our heads. We're not sure how many people to expect and the invitations said not to bring anything because we'd have it all.

I really want to impress everyone with our generous hospitality. (We even boasted that we have three TVs, but one of them is in the bedroom and, truthfully, I don't want a gaggle of strangers sitting on our bed, watching football and dropping potato chips and French onion dip on the comforter.)

We didn't ask for RSVPs, so I don't know whether to buy a six-pack of Milwaukee's Best or an entire case. Should we pick up just one plastic tray of veggies and dip from Costco, or three or four? (Can left-over carrot and celery sticks be frozen until summer?)

The invitation list includes my co-workers and bosses at the Sun, my neighbors (so they won't complain about people parking in front of their driveways), and people I've written about in this column.

That list includes Steve and Elaine Wynn and I'm sure they'd swing by, were they not spending the holidays in Idaho. If they return early, I'll break out the Cook's champagne from Sav-on that I've saved for a special occasion, and swap out the Cheez Whiz for the really good Tillamook cheddar.

The invite list also includes Oscar ("No-Thumbs") Goodman, but he probably won't show up either. We invited him to an open house five years ago and, thinking he'd make an appearance, I bought two big bottles of decent gin. Well, that $20 would have better been spent on beer for my friends than on Oscar ("No-Show") Goodman.

The biggest wild card for the open house will be the Henderson Symphony. I attended their Christmas concert and interviewed a half-dozen of its members. But Jeanne said that since I wrote about the entire symphony, I had to invite each member. So I did.

I don't know if two musicians will come, or all 65, so now I'm hoping one of 'em will bring some crispy pork rinds or a bag of Fritos.

How can you plan for a party if you don't know how many are coming?

Maybe I can learn something from the folks who are organizing the big New Year's Eve party on Fremont Street. The mayor of Las Vegas hopes to get himself and another 11,999 people into the Guinness Book of World Records by participating in the world's largest toast. All but one of them will be sipping wine.

The current record, I'm told, is a 10,079-person toast, conducted by a Japanese sake company.

Tickets for the Vegas event, which will drink in the new year and drink out the Las Vegas Centennial celebration, cost $40, which includes admission to the Fremont Street Experience and music by three bands, none of which goes by the name of Guy Lombardo.

It can't be easy, organizing the Fremont Street New Year's Eve party. They've got to order 1,200 magnums of chardonnay, locate a handful of corkscrews (unless the stuff comes in cardboard box dispensers like Franzia) and send someone to Costco for a ton of plastic cups.

But I've learned something from the Fremont folks: Make a party so big that a wine maker will co-sponsor it, as is Beaulieu Vineyard for Oscar's party. (Maybe I could ask Two-Buck Chuck to underwrite the Gorman gala.)

If BV Wine has leftovers, will it sell the unopened bottles at a swap meet or take them back home to Napa? And pity the guy who has to take a few thousand plastic cups back to Costco for a refund.

I guess my party logistics will pale by comparison, but now I have a new concern. By writing about the New Year's Eve toast, will I now have to invite everyone there to our open house?

I guess we'll be able to at least handle every member of the Henderson Symphony. I just hope they don't bring their cellos.

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