Super Bowl:Local fans gather for food, fun, fellowship

An estimated television audience of more than 100 million watched the Super Bowl XLVIII contest between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos Sunday night.

Those viewers included several folks who witnessed the big game that ended with a 43-8 Seattle victory at a couple of local eateries.

Pat Hurley and his wife, Tiffany Wince of Marietta were both wearing Broncos jerseys as they watched the game at the Harmar Tavern.

“We lived in Seattle for three years, and like the Seahawks, but we’re rooting for the Broncos,” Hurley said. “I just think Peyton Manning got the shaft when he was dumped by the Colts. He deserves a win tonight.”

Harmar Tavern owner Kevin Whitby said Super Bowl Sunday’s have always been an event at his establishment.

“It’s been a tradition for 23 years here,” he said. “We used to have even bigger crowds, but a lot of people seem to like watching the game at home and having their own Super Bowl parties.”

Whitby said tavern cook Susie Hoff whips up some special dishes for the party, including a sausage dip and her own unique chicken wings recipe.

Tyler Sprigg and his dad, Rich, both of Marietta, were among the apparently few local Seahawks fans watching Sunday’s game.

“My dad has always liked the Seahawks, so I became a fan, too,” Tyler said prior to the game. “They played in a previous Super Bowl about five years ago, but lost against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But I think defense will win this championship.”

He predicted the final score of Sunday’s game would be 24-17 in favor of the Seahawks.

“I don’t think it will be a high-scoring game, but it should be a good one,” Tyler said.

Sunday’s competition took place in the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., with temperatures at kickoff hovering around 40 degrees. But there were concerns last month that if January’s arctic cold snap continued into February it would have an impact on the teams’ ability to play in the Super Bowl.

“I think snow or rain would have given the Seahawks an edge over the Broncos,” Tyler said, noting the Seattle team would likely be used to playing during inclement weather.

The Boathouse BBQ bar and restaurant on Virginia Street also had a crowd of Super Bowl viewers Sunday night.

Cyndy Kyer and husband “Buckeye Bob” Kyer were enjoying the game with some friends.

Cyndy was pulling for the Seahawks, while Bob stayed loyal to the Broncos.

“I have a sister who lives in Seattle and I love that town,” Cyndy said, explaining why she favored the Seahawks.

Bob noted that Sunday’s game would be an historic event no matter which team won.

“If the Broncos win Peyton Manning would be the first quarterback to win Super Bowls on two different teams,” he said. “If the Seahawks come out on top it will be their first Super Bowl win.”

Super Bowl Sunday also has been a chance for family and friends to gather.

Churches throughout the area held special gatherings Sunday evening for their members and others to be able to bring people together, have a variety of food and enjoy the big game.

Among the churches holding special events Sunday evening were St. Ambrose Catholic Church, outside Belpre, and Fairlawn Baptist Church, outside Parkersburg.

“You always like to get the folks together for something and this is one occasion that is ready-made,” said Father Bob Gallagher of St. Ambrose. “It is easy to ask people to come.

“We gather and watch the Super Bowl together and have some fun.”

The church had a big screen television set up in its fellowship hall with tables set up all around. The event was called the “Souper Bowl Party,” Gallagher said. It was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, with people giving $10 donation to used for charitable causes the Knights are involved in.

“It helps them out and provides a social event for the parish,” Gallagher said. “We have about a dozen homemade soups and other munchies.”

Many churchmembers made food and brought it out for the event. A number of people came out, but Gallagher believed more people would have come if the weather forecast was not calling for 3-5 inches of snow overnight Sunday.

“The snow is going to hurt us,” he said. “If we didn’t have that prediction, we probably would have filled this place up.

“I think the folks here still will have a good time and Lord knows we will have enough soup.”

Jamie Spencer, of Marietta, came out to St. Ambrose on Sunday for “the fun, the people and the game.”

“I think it is a great way to get the community together, to spend time together and get to know your fellow parishioners,” she said.

Peggy Byers, of Washington County, came to St. Ambrose for “good food, good fun and a great time.”

“They are making a tradition of it here,” she said. “We do look forward to it.

“We know there are going to be people here. It is a nice place to have some fellowship.”

Across the Blennerhassett Bridge in West Virginia, people gathered at Fairlawn Baptist Church for the annual Super Bowl gathering.

“We are celebrating what we are calling ‘Soup or Bowl,'” said Denis Higgins, member and director of the Puppet Ministry at the church. “We are having soup, sandwiches and all kinds of comfort foods.

“We invite churchmembers and their friends to come, have a night of enjoyment and Christian fellowship and just to have a great time.”

The annual gathering is one of many outreach events for people throughout the area.

“We do this and many other programs to reach out to the community,” Higgins said. “Our church’s mission is to do whatever it takes to reach one more for Christ.”

Over 125 people attended the gathering Sunday at Fairlawn. At half-time, everyone joined in for a short devotional.

“We have done this a number of years,” Higgins said. “Many churches are doing something.

“It is nice because you can do it with friends.”