Dining Services Caters Televised Beach Party
Plop down a few tons of sand, add a pool of sparkling water, a waterslide and a bunch of palm trees, throw in a band playing Beach Boys hits and voilá, you’ve got a great summer beach party.
Never mind that the “beach” is a residential, asphalt street on Fargo’s burgeoning south side.
And when the hosts of the party, cable television’s The Weather Channel, decided they needed picnic food, they turned to Concordia's Dining Services to cater the hot dogs, bison burgers, watermelon and grilled banana splits.
“Our student workers loved it. They really got in the swing of things, and being on national television has to be good exposure for the college,” says Jan Zaeske, DS special events manager.
The party aired nationally from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 25, after Fargo resident Steve Waldner won the cable channel’s “Ultimate Summer Beach Party” contest by poking fun at the area’s propensity for cold winters and spring flooding.
Zaeske says she had slightly more than a week to plan a breakfast and picnic lunch menu for 250 people.
“It was a tight schedule, but that’s the way it is for events,” she says. “Everyone wants something different, something unique and special.”
Zaeske and catering manager Bill Fradet assembled a crew of eight student workers, three cooks and three caterers for the event. Most had to be on site by 4 a.m. for the 7 a.m. start of the party.
DS’s supply of in-house props furnished colorful picnic baskets and beach pails for the buffet table. Several palm trees and a tiki bar were rented.
“The tiki bar was fun,” Zaeske says. “We put a little umbrella in every drink.”
Anton Goss ’10, a veteran four-year DS worker, manned the blenders, turning out a succession of frozen concoctions such as flavored lemonades and nonalcoholic piña coladas.
The cooks were interviewed on camera as they grilled bananas for sundaes or the crowd favorites, hot dogs and bison burgers.
One of The Weather Channel hosts, meteorologist Jennifer Carfagno, asked Zaeske for her calico bean recipe. “She said it was the perfect dish for summer parties.”