Small town bachelor party
April 22, 2013 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Bachelor party, challenge level: wholesome time, tiny Midwestern town, Thursday night, 7 people total, best man (me) arriving in town a few hours before.

At this point all that's decided is a barbecue, and at some point going to one of the 3 bars in town. The groom seemed amenable to games of vague skill (himself mentioned bowling and ping-pong, neither of which are available in town that night), but I want to avoid a handful of 20 and 30-somethings sitting around playing Apples to Apples.

In my mind the constraints have made me think "low key," but I'm starting to realize that this may be the wrong line of thinking. So I'm interested in activities, themes, or any other quirky or not-so-quirky idea that you have that makes small town Iowa on a Thursday more interesting than just another night at the bars with some friends.

Also, Collin if you're reading this, stop it!
posted by gregoryg to Human Relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My bachelor party was called "The All-American." Beer, baseball, steaks, scotch and poker. You really can't go wrong with this or a similar combination.

Most people forget the food part of the party, and they fail to organize the party into a beginning, middle and end. "Whoo, strip joint! Now what? Yeah. So, that happened. Guys? Umm? Any ideas?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:48 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and hazard that you are not from "small town Iowa." Because the thing is, small towns in Iowa, or anywhere else, are not all alike. They have their commonalities, sure, but every small town has a unique personality. E.g., your saying that there's no bowling available on Thursday nights made me think, wtf, which small town could he be talking about? Town has a bowling alley that's not open on Thursday? Unique!

In short, if you really want to get down to the quirky, you're going to have to get geographically specific. I know the quirks of three towns in Iowa pretty well. They are quite unlike each other. For that reason, I wouldn't even bother to guess at the quirks of any other small towns in Iowa.

Having said that, I don't think "low key" is necessarily a bad idea. I know a lot of people who live in small towns in Iowa very intentionally, even though they could easily live elsewhere, largely because of that "low-key" thing. If the barbecue doesn't get rained out, a night sitting outside with a few beers, listening to the peepers and telling stories with good friends, is far from the worst bachelor party a guy could have.
posted by bricoleur at 9:11 PM on April 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Call the three bars and ask to speak with the night manager or the owner. Call after 6:00pm. Let them know what night you are looking at and ask them what they want to offer. They may be happy for the business on a slow night and set up ping pong for you.
posted by myselfasme at 9:23 PM on April 22, 2013

7 is getting a bit late, but it's summer time, so it might be doable - go shoot skeet before your BBQ.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:10 PM on April 22, 2013

Scavenger hunt for the groom? Bonfire in a field? Bocce ball or frisbee. Is there a cool brewery or distillery nearby? Ride bikes around all night?
posted by amaire at 10:21 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Scavenger hunt. A digital picture one works well. Ie, find a picture of: a possible ceremony site; pictures of best man in a bridesmaid dress; groom buying condons; a getaway vehicle. Etc.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:21 PM on April 22, 2013

I live in Iowa, about an hour north of Des Moines. I was involved in a Bachelor party last year for a friend. we started off the day shooting skeet and/or trap locally. We then went to Des Moines to eat BBQ at Jethro's and drink downtown. Later the groom wanted to go to a strip club (the ones in Des Moines are BYOB) so we did. Until 5 AM.

It looks like the state's AAA baseball affiliate is in Omaha this week, so no go there (unless you're in western Iowa). The Cedar Rapids Kernels (A) are at home though if you're on that side of the state.

There are some microbreweries scattered around (sometimes in the middle of nowhere), you might check into that, or memail me a general location and I might be able to find something.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:46 AM on April 23, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far, all. To address a couple of points: he doesn't want to leave town for it so going to a brewery or particular venue not in the town is out, none of us are the shooting or outdoorsy types (think nerds who grew up in new-agey town), and I can't imagine how to do a scavenger hunt without a lot of prep time and I don't fly in until a few hours before. Also, intimately familiar with the bars and what they have to offer - none of them do anything special for parties so those things would have to be self-directed.

Also the party isn't until late May, if there was any confusion.

Great point bricoleur about him living in small town Iowa for a reason - I guess I shouldn't shy away from a smaller affair I just feel obligated to make it special.
posted by gregoryg at 6:55 AM on April 23, 2013

Best answer: Capture the flag works remarkably well in the dark outdoors with water balloons. It'll be 3 against 4, so the team of 3 gets the high ground.

Some more options for relatively non-athletic Games of Vague Skill that you could set up outdoors in a few hours: darts, badminton, that thing where you throw beanbags at a box with a hole in it, horseshoes, shuffleboard.

You do not necessarily need to have a real ping pong table to set up ping pong- you can get the net and paddles at Wal Mart for about $30 and put them on any old big table that's at the house where you're having the BBQ.

If it's warm and there is a hill, a slip and slide is fun. A really big rope swing in a tree never fails.

If you are actually really nerdy, you might enjoy spending the evening building a machine together. You could conspire to send the parts in advance to a friend who lives in this town. A trebuchet or catapult is a nice project. You can get model rocket kits that assemble and are ready to launch in less than an hour.
posted by steinwald at 7:19 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would avoid playing poker, as it tends to put an end to any other festivities. I'd use it as a last resort. A few ideas:

1. Set up a game of Beer Frisbee in a yard somewhere. All you need are two 5-foot PVC pipes and 3 or 4 Frisbees (and lots of beer). The rules I linked to specify two team of 2, but you can easily play it with as many people per team as you have Frisbees. The scoring is capricious and the fun is in the playing. I had great luck with this game at a bachelor party. We killed a few hours with it.

2. See if somebody has a Beer Pong table. People seem to like that game, though why is beyond me.

3. Do you think you could manage a pig roast? It is a lot of work, requires planning and space, but is a lot of fun and occupies everybody.
posted by etc. at 7:24 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: One of the best bachelor parties I've attended took place in a small town on Lake Michigan (we rented a house), and featured activities that mostly took place outdoors and none that required a business of any kind. I'll leave out stuff we did that included the lake, but things we did included:

1. Sat in the hot tub and drank beer. This may or may not be an option depending on your accommodations.

2. Grilled tons of meat and ate assorted junk food and drank beer with it.

3. Played cross-country bocce ball, which involves throwing the little marker ball (I'm not an actual bocce player) wherever you like and wandering around outside and drinking beer.

4. Played slosh ball, the rules of which went something like this:
a) There weren't really any teams, just everybody played in the field when they weren't batting or on base, I think.
b) You can stay on base as long as you want, and multiple people can be at a given base.
c) First base is like normal. Before advancing from second base (which is a keg), you must chug a beer. Before advancing from third base, you must do 6 bat spins (i.e. put your forehead on the bat and spin around it 6 times).
d) Everyone but the batter must be holding a beer at all times.
e) That's pretty much it, I think - make up the rest of the rules or try to find more complex ones in the internet.

5. Sat in the sun and drank beer.

6. Played poker.

7. Set off fireworks.

8. Had a fire, sat around it, drank beer.

9. Partied w/ DMX and the Roughriders, who were renting a nearby cottage. This may not be a possibility for you.

Point is, if you can find an open field and are somewhat creative, you can have a 2-day party with unceasing action.

Have fun!
posted by PhatLobley at 7:52 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can't think of a nicer evening than a yummy barbecue, some old buddies and my favorite beverage.

Is there anything where you are, that you could import to make the evening more special? High tone cigars? A special bottle of booze (although if y'all are anything like the nerds I know and love, a regional Mt. Dew might be more in line.) An outrageous chocolate?

Bocce Ball can be fun and you can buy it on-line and have it shipped to the groom or to your hotel. Leave it behind as a gift to the couple.

Another thing you could do, and this is exceptionally nerdlicous, is to develop a D&D type game based upon married life. You could be the game master (or whoever the guy is behind the tri-fold thingy..) Everyone can roll for their powers. Like the ability to charm with an apology, or something like that.

Or make it a Quest to the Altar. You know, everyone at the bachelor party has to help Colin get to the wedding on time, but...adventures!

Going to that depth would show Colin how much you care, and if everyone else is into gaming, it could be really fun.

Don't stress so much about this. You're going to have a great time because you'll be with buddies. Enjoy a summery eveing with your friends.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:40 AM on April 23, 2013

If it makes you feel any better: My friend's bachelorette party in Vegas turned into a bunch of mostly sober girls going to bed a little after midnight. Not so wild and crazy. But fun! We had fun. I swear.

Does anyone have an air hockey table? Or pool table? Or a hot tub? Any of those plus a barbecue and a lot of beer sound like a good bachelor party to me.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:35 AM on April 23, 2013

Best answer: Fellow Iowan chiming in (didn't know MeFi had any, awesome!): a friend told me recently he went to a bachelor party where the guys put up a huge screen outside, like one of those inflatable ones you can rent I think, and they drank beer and played MarioKart. I thought that sounded like a blast—a little bit on the "nerdy" side, since it's not the typical bachelor party experience, but not nerdy enough that anybody would be likely to feel alienated. Everybody knows MarioKart!
posted by honey wheat at 9:59 AM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Giant screen MarioKart sounds like 100 pounds of awesome.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:30 PM on April 23, 2013

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