Volunteer fireman Tom Georgia didn’t have a lot of time to talk Sunday afternoon. From 1 to 5:30 p.m. he was one of 15 volunteers working frantically at the annual Tribes Hill Fire Department Super Bowl barbecue fundraiser.
“We’re very busy,” he said. “We’ll do 650 chickens and about 150 ribs. We’ll do that in four hours.”
The Tribes Hill Fire Department has held the drive-through barbecue dinner on Super Bowl Sunday for 30 years.
“We’ll raise about three grand,” he said.
It’s quite a haul for the firefighters. They distribute nearly 1,000 orders to cars packed with hungry football fans at a rate of 200 an hour, but Georgia was in a pretty good mood.
“We’re actually very selfish,” he said.
The fundraiser ends at 5:30, giving the entire fire crew plenty of time for their own Super Bowl party.
“We’ll be pulling for the 49ers,” he said.
Joe Shea at the Stadium Cafe in Saratoga Springs had no such luxury. He planned to serve chicken wings and beer to the roaring masses all evening. Before kickoff, he said he expected a crowd of about 150 to be split evenly between Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
“There shouldn’t be any fights,” he said. “I only have to deal with that when the Yankees play the Red Sox.”
For Shea, it’s a busy night for only a moderate reward. Stadium is always packed on Super Bowl Sunday. There are 25 huge flat-screen TVs, so people show up, “but there’s no turnover,” Shea said.
Business is only a little better than the average Sunday night.
“Our best night is actually Chowderfest,” he said, of the annual event that took place Saturday.
Even so, he plans to sell many hundreds of chicken wings, plenty of burgers and a river of beer.
In America, Super Bowl Sunday is what U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko called “a day of bounty,” and he spent much of the day trying to keep it that way, even for the less fortunate.
The Schenectady City Mission threw its own Super Bowl party for the hungry and homeless of the area, and Tonko planned to be there serving pizza and sweeping the floor.
“The amount of money we spend on advertising could be spent on youth education and caring for the frail and the homeless,” he said.
For all those good intentions, the hungry also enjoyed some good football.
“Last year they had a flat-screen in the dining room,” he said.
Of course, there are those with no interest in sports — people who would take a glass of fine red wine over a Miller or an aged cheese over chicken wings.
Heather LaVine’s new business, the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery and Wine Bar in Troy, held an anti-Super Bowl party to provide social bonding to un-sporty intellectuals.
“We thought of this when my husband and I realized neither we, nor any of our clientele, cared at all about football,” she said. “We didn’t even know who was playing.”
Instead of a halftime show, the confectionery was filled with fine art. The traditional light American beers were replaced with beverages of a craft Germany variety. Nacho cheese dip was switched out with hummus.
“You won’t find chicken wings here,” she said, “but we do have some excellent cured meats.”
LaVine’s formula of civilized non-football conversation, high-class snacks and art seemed to pay off. A few hours before the game, she said the place was bustling.