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Super celebration

Food, family, friends, football ensure revelersâEUR(TM) return

Food, family, friends, football ensure revelersâEUR(TM) return

February 07, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Kriner house west of Hagerstown had all the essentials for a great Sunday party: food, family, friends and football spread out over four rooms.

Continuing a tradition that is decades old, Wayne and MaryAnn Kriner opened their house to more than 55 family members and friends for their annual Super Bowl party. The couple turned four rooms in the house into little sports theaters and organized a potluck aspect of the event that would make nearly any Thanksgiving spread look paltry in comparison.

This Super Bowl party's attendees ranged in age from 18 months to 72 years, with children running between rooms on sugar highs and members of the "retirees room" in the back sitting still for hours on end.

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The New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Jacksonville, Fla., but that hardly seemed to matter to the hosts or guests at the Woodlawn Drive home.

"It's so nice to see everyone again and again and again," MaryAnn Kriner said while slicing through homemade cake.

Wayne Kriner said it's the one time each year that the vast majority of the family and its close friends can be under the same roof for a good time.

"We just love to get together and talk and give each other a hard time about who we think is going to win," he said.

The Kriners have been having the Super Bowl party at their home every year since 1975, and they have pictures from most years to prove it. Their photo album documents parties back to January 1981, the last time the Eagles played - and lost - in the Super Bowl.

Kathy Barr, a former neighbor, said it's the company, not the football, that brings her back each Super Bowl Sunday.

"I don't remember who played from year to year, but I'll remember that Josh Groban sang the national anthem," Barr said "It depends what your priorities are."

"I remember last year's halftime show, well, mostly the ending," Russ Kriner joked referring to Janet Jackson's controversial performance in 2004.

"I'm not watching halftime this year in case (Paul) McCartney has a wardrobe malfunction. I don't want to see that," the hosts' son said.

For Russ Kriner, 42, the annual family Super Bowl party has been a tradition that has spanned most of his life.

"All the way back as far as I remember, we always watched the game together," Russ Kriner said.

As for the game, the first half was nearly as sloppy as the plates holding leftover baked beans or dips that had been pillaged by tortilla chips and crackers.

And as the Patriots were driving toward their first touchdown of the game late in the first half, the desserts were being delivered to the main table.

The desserts, which included everything from brownies to fresh fruit to a foot-high ice cream cake made by MaryAnn Kriner, seemed to be the main attraction of the day. They far and away upstaged the halftime performance of McCartney, which almost was ignored by the party-goers for several minutes.

Audrey Smith, Russ Kriner's mother-in-law, said there was only one word to describe her reaction to attending the party for the first time about a decade ago - "amazing." She said the camaraderie, and especially the food, could not be beaten.

"Dairy Queen doesn't even make them that tall," Smith said of the signature ice cream cake.

MaryAnn Kriner joked, "They don't come here for the football game; they come for the dessert."

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