My mom and dad both turned 70 this month. Yep, their birthdays are a day apart. Since my dad likes boats, sailboats in particular, and my mom likes parties with lots of people, we decided to charter a boat and have a big party on it. We also decided to keep the boat a surprise.

We settled on a sunset cruise on the Schooner Liberté, a 74 foot sailing ship that runs out of Falmouth in the summer. The crew of the Liberté is actually a family, and they live on the boat 9 months out of the year, you can read all about them here. Were more than impressed with their setup, their ability to accommodate our group, bartend, sail the boat and prep and serve the food. And all with good humor, charm and ease. Plus, they managed to keep the rain away, somehow.

So, how do you feed 49 people on a sail boat?* We think it was Shane who came up with the idea of food on sticks. This way there would be no juggling, no plates or utensils and always a free hand to grab on to something. It worked brilliantly and everything was delicious.

The Menu:
Shrimp cocktail on sticks, served on a bed of ice with cocktail sauce for dipping.
Tomato, mozzarella and pesto-topped crouton on sticks.
Grilled chicken, marinated in lime, soy, garlic and honey, on sticks.
Caesar salad on sticks, romaine and a crouton, drizzled with caesar dressing.
Small, roasted potatoes on sticks.
Meatballs on sticks, cooked in tomato sauce, with pecorino cheese for dipping.
Brownies and marshmallows on sticks.

Photos left to right: 1. Rose and Jenya preparing the tomato, mozzarella sticks.  2. Potatoes ready to roast.  3. Rose and Ronni preparing the croutons. 4. Wayne, André & Allan skewering marinated chicken before grilling.  5. Jenya, Jenny and the romaine.  6. Shane and his well-wrapped meatballs, plus other dishes all ready to go.  7. Our amazing team, aka “the kids” Rose, Shane, Anna, Jenya (with baby C) & André.  8. Everyone waiting for the boat.  9. The Schooner Liberté.  10. Aboard the Liberté.  11. The lovely Jane, First Mate, bartender, waitress, hostess, food-prepper and mom.  12. Shrimp cocktail sticks and tomato, mozzarella & pesto-topped crouton sticks.  13. Caesar salad on sticks, meatballs on sticks and roasted potatoes on sticks.  14. Meatballs on sticks.  15. Cozy kids enjoying brownie and marshmallow sticks.  16. Anna leads a birthday toast for Rita and Morgan.

*Anna, Jenya and I are a great team and did a ton of planning for the party but we could not have pulled it off without lots (and lots) of help. Thank you, Shane, André, Rose, Wayne, Ronni, Sharon, Dick, Pam, Allan, Jenny, Regan, Iris, Johanna, Kate, Mick, Drew, Cathy, Gail and everyone else who helped pull this off without a hitch.