Tips for Hosting

Most college students make it home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there’s an added fall trip for University of Georgia students who hail from the Golden Isles. Returning to St. Simons Island, local young people bring crowds of their fraternity brothers, sorority sisters or friends and bunk in with their parents for the big party weekend. The parents, many of them University of Georgia alumni themselves, welcome their children and friends with open arms and well-stocked refrigerators.

These parents are pros at hosting young adults at their houses and have great tips for parents who might be preparing to experience this adventure for the very first time.

Alannah + David O’Quinn, parents of Simms and Piper

Lodging: We built our home with the intention of hosting many get-togethers. We enjoy inviting people to our home and especially love the opportunity to have our daughters and their friends! We utilize the whole house when the girls come for the weekend. We move the furniture out of the house and set up air mattresses to make room for everyone. Our house is open, with many different spaces for them to hang out – they can be out on the dock, sit by the pool or by fire pit. This allows everyone to spread out. We love welcoming all the Adpis to the house, but I do have a Theta flag to remind them of whose house it really is ….

Food + Beverage: Our backyard is a great entertainment spot and we host an oyster roast for all Adpis on Friday night. Having lots of snacks/food available 24-7 is a must. Keeping everyone fed and hydrated is key and makes everyone happy and we have music going to make it festive. This involves several trips to Sam’s. Other favorites are Chik-fil-A chicken minis, and Cilantro’s is our tradition to have when the girls get back from Frat Beach – cheese dip is a hit. Sweet Mama’s pork pops are a must, and egg casseroles are the perfect start to game day. An oyster roast with Southern Soul Barbeque is a great way to feed a large group.

Top tips: It helps to be laid back and know that not everything will be perfect, neat or tidy during the weekend – even though we have never had anything broken and the girls are great about helping keep things cleaned up. One of the best gifts for me is getting to know our daughters’ friends – it is worth the planning, set-up and clean-up. I ask the girls to bring their own bath towel, pillow, and blanket. This helps cut down on laundry and clean up. Ordering fun items for the weekend i.e., game day cups and decorative cookies adds fun details that the girls enjoy when they come. The most we have had is 58 girls at one time. It was so fun to see the freshman girls get to know the older girls. Georgia-Florida weekend is also a perfect time for the freshman girls to get to know each other.

Alison + Joel Arline, parents of Pope

Lodging: We do have a couple of outdoor areas that we use to entertain. We have a Sea Island Forge fire pit with Adirondack chairs around it. There is an area for oysters we have set up near the fire pit. It’s a great space a few steps from the back yard. We also have an outdoor living area near the pool with a fireplace, TV and seating. The boys enjoy hanging out in the back yard area. We keep the coolers lined and filled up the entire weekend. We have fellas sleeping everywhere! They fill the guest rooms and then we have air mattresses to put down in any other available space.

Food + Beverage: Tips for entertaining boys … FOOD! My husband and I make a Sam’s run before the boys arrive. We have plenty of chips, dips and snacks available the entire time. We like to keep them well fed when they are here. We will either do a low country boil or good ole burgers the first night. Friday morning Joel loves cooking up eggs, bacon, sausage and biscuits to give them a good “base.” Typically after a beach day we have pizza boxes lining the kitchen bar. Their exit lunch on Sunday is always The Porch, St. Simons!

Game day: Game day is an early one as the fellas have to catch the buses to Jax. Joel makes biscuits with sausage, bacon, egg, cheese, etc. for the bus ride. We usually hand them one on the way out the door and a spare for the bus ride. The evening they return from the game we will serve a Southern Soul buffet on the kitchen bar. They are tired but hungry.

Top tips: I couldn’t live without plungers in each bathroom (we don’t have power flush toilets), big Brute trash cans, black trash bags and plenty of toilet paper. Beer pong tables and corn hole games are popular. On Frat Beach day, we start delivering kids to the beach at 11:30 a.m. and start picking them up at 4 p.m. (Having them dress similarly makes it easier to identify your crew). If not, we advise writing the phone number on their arms and putting all the boys cell phone numbers in your cell phone. When the beach empties, it can be difficult to find these boys.

Linda + Kevin Lokey, parents of Collier and Aiden

Lodging: We have a downstairs space that is set up for young adults. It has bunk beds that sleep six and futons, plus many extra mattresses. We can sleep 12 comfortably downstairs for Georgia-Florida weekend, but we always have more! Our kids typically reclaim their bedrooms upstairs with a few friends. The downstairs space is fairly indestructible. It has a cement floor, and we usually roll up most carpets. There is a ping pong table and large screen TV plus karaoke machine and speakers. The students also use the bonfire area and bocce-ball court outside. They usually make s’mores at night when they arrive Thursday and stay home that night with their group. They are also free to grill outside on the Blackstone.

Food + Beverage: This year we have only boys since the girls graduated. We are thinking we might change one night to a shrimp boil for a low country feel. Thursday night is typically pasta night. Kevin makes his (somewhat) famous blackened chicken and sun-dried tomato parmesan bow-tie pasta recipe that is always requested. We had a girl UBER here one year by her self from Frat Beach in her Baywatch lifeguard costume, to get some pasta leftovers since she stayed the year prior and remembered our house and his pasta! But for most Georgia-Florida weekends, Friday morning is a full breakfast with eggs, bacon, hash browns, grits, bagels and breakfast cakes. Friday dinner is usually a large taco/nacho bar. It is easy to pre-chop and friends without college kids usually help me while the students are out. Crock pots are so helpful since the meat and cheese dips can stay on low to await their return. I can quickly set it all up whenever they arrive from the beach.

Game day: Saturday is game day! They catch buses early so I pre-make French toast casseroles, and pop them in oven along with frozen Sweet Mama’s pork pops to go. When they return, it is typically staggered. We usually watch the game out so I leave barbecue trays from Southern Soul and crock pots full of different soups and chili. They eat at their leisure.

Top tips: Best tip is to constantly feed your group! We also, secretly, do a lot of carb loading. They typically don’t stay around the house so we get them when it is time to eat or sleep, for the most part. Besides loads of food and snacks, we always have tons of water cases stacked in the basement. We ask them to bring a pillow and towel so we don’t have to constantly run laundry. If you have girls, make them apply the glitter, for frat beach, outside. … We always have our kids go speak to the neighbors and remind them it is Georgia-Florida weekend. We also make Georgia-Florida cups with the year and their sorority/fraternity name plus decorate for Halloween/Georgia-Florida with plenty of pumpkins carved as well as our UGA mascot and candy/balloons. Collier usually surprised her friends upon arrival with a Halloween treat but Aiden has not done it … yet.

It seems like a lot of work but college flies by and Georgia-Florida weekend provides memories that last a lifetime!