FAIRMONT - Regardless of who's playing from year to year, Super Bowl Sunday is a big deal to a lot of people.
From football fans to foodies, Super Sunday provides a sort of mini-holiday to break up the long winter, and as with any holiday, there are traditions that go with it.
STOCKING?UP?— Ryan Jaeger, a sales representative for Tow Distributing, builds a Budweiser display geared for Super Bowl Sunday on Tuesday night at Fairmont’s municipal liquor store.
Super Bowl Sunday typically does not bring in a huge influx of customers at the local bars. Home is where most people in this area like to watch the big game.
Whether someone is planning for a big gathering of friends and family, or just a couple buddies, there is a certain amount of preparation for the host. Fortunately for the procrastinators out there, "casual" is the word for this day, with both food and drink.
"It's probably one of our top days," said Mark Grotzinger, restaurant general manager at Pizza Hut in Fairmont, where extra staff will be on hand Sunday in order to keep up with demand and deliveries.
Busy as the day may be, establishments around town agree that anyone with last-minute pizza cravings should be OK calling Sunday night.
Jeff Vetter, manager of perishables at Hy-Vee in Fairmont, confirmed that pizza is ever popular for Super Sunday.
"Typically, it is one of the best-selling holidays for pizzas. So our fresh pizzas and frozen pizzas, it's one of the biggest weekends of the year for them," he said.
Chicken wings, chips and dip, and other easy finger foods and snacks are also top picks for parties.
"It's a grazer's holiday," Vetter said.
Based on the commercials playing during the Super Bowl, it's pretty obvious what advertisers think the best-selling beverage is for the game: Beer!
At Fairmont's municipal liquor store, beer sales jump 25 percent to 30 percent the weekend of the Super Bowl, compared to beer sales on a regular January weekend.
"It's kind of a nice little boost after business slows down after the holidays," said Molly Meyer, liquor store manager.
By far and away, the most popular beer for this area is none other than ... Michelob Golden Draft Light.
"We're freaks down here they tell us, but it is absolutely the No. 1 seller in our store," Meyer said, laughing. "... One of the big draws, I think, is it appeals to both men and women. I like it myself. It doesn't fill you up and make you feel bloated after one beer, and although it's a light beer, it doesn't taste light or watered down."
It's also pretty cheap compared to the more expensive six-pack imports or craft brews, enjoyed by the "beer geeks," as Meyer affectionately calls them, though those do sell well over Super Bowl weekend.
And let's not forget the wine - yes wine - since wine sales also increase that weekend as people prep for Super Bowl parties.
"It's a big food event," said Meyer, and the food and drink connoisseurs want to pair beverages with hors d'oeuvres to bring out the best flavor in both.
However elaborate or simple your Super Bowl plans are, if alcohol is involved, be sure to think ahead about your ride home, or if you're hosting a party, how your guests will safely get home.
"It's a great event for our culture, but alcohol is definitely a big piece of it for many people, and if they don't take precautions, then tragedy can result," said Fairmont Police Chief Greg Brolsma, who cited statistics showing that half of fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol-related.