Getting Tampa Party-Ready for the Fall


The Tampa Bay area is really starting to grow in population and especially in the food industry.

We recently saw the brand new opening of the area's first Safeway grocery store in Largo this summer. This expansion of grocery store offerings has also brought the national brand of Debi Lilly Design.

When a colleague offered up the chance to sit and talk party planning for Tampa's biggest fall festivities with celebrity party planner, Debi Lilly, I had to jump at the opportunity.

Upon entering her suite at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, I was met with her wide array of floral arrangements available for purchase at Safeway. Various sized vases filled with snacks and other colorful decor accented the room under the natural light.

Anxious to learn new tips, I began to talk about our beloved fall events in Tampa. I needed to know, not just for me, but for all of you, what can we do to add the "cool factor" to our upcoming events.

So what did Debi Lilly have to say about how we can celebrate our beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers or how to prep for the Guavaween festivities that begin or end in our homes?

Here are three of her trusted tips to get us party ready for the fall.

Specialty Cocktail Drinks

Guavaween and tailgating at the Bucs games is all about the pre-event drinking. So I had to ask her what would be a great drink to serve. Of course, she encouraged our local beers (i.e. Cigar City, 3 Daughters Brewing, etc), but she also talked about using whiskey for fall cocktails or creating the Hail Mary (a blood mary inspired by football) which goes well with the Buccaneer colors.

Snack Stations

Per Debi, it is always good to have snacks for your guests to munch on, especially if you're serving alcohol. By taking one of her vases, which can be found at Safeway, and filling it with popcorn or pretzels or creepy Halloween candy, you can offer up treats in a chic manner.

Color Appropriate Flowers

I have to admit, I wasn't a believer in using flowers for these activities where people will be intoxicated. Who would remember the flowers, right? But she proved me wrong, by showing various options and tips using her ready-to-go floral arrangements also sold at the Safeway in Largo, I could see how flowers can make a big difference. By cutting them low and placing them in a short square vase you can represent the color of the Bucs or your pre-Guavaween function.

Debi gave so many tips on how to have a great party at home or in the parking lot of Raymond James Stadium, there just isn't enough room to share them all. So you will just have to visit her site www.DebiLilly.com to check out her other tips.

Are you ready to party this fall in Tampa? Share any other cool Guavaween or football festivity decor tips below. Would love to share them in a future article.


Ebony T. Grimsley-Vaz is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the author of "Because You're Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation" which is sold onAmazon, Barnes & Noble and other stores, a contributor to various media outlets and a lover of all things cool in Tampa Bay.