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Battle of bands kicks off Poinsettia Bowl

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Just two days before the Poinsettia Bowl, the Gaslamp Quarter's Fifth Avenue plays host to the Poinsettia Bowl Battle of the Bands at 6 p.m. Dec. 21. The match-up is between University of California at Berkeley and Utah State, whose bands, accompanied by their cheer squads, will line up along opposite ends of Fifth Avenue.

Utah will begin at Fifth Avenue and L Street and finish at Fifth and E Street. Cal will begin at Fifth and E and finish at Fifth and L.

As the two bands march toward each other, they will stop at each intersection to perform. Once they reach the corner of Market Street and Fifth, the two college bands will square off, face each other and battle.

The event is meant to serve as a giant pep rally to energize the teams and their fans before the big game scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 23.

This year, the Poinsettia Bowl Battle of the Bands has incorporated a community aspect and will be featuring the local Southwest High School's band and cheer squad who will perform prior to the two Poinsettia Bowl bands.

Looking for a spot to watch the action? There are 47 patios on Fifth Avenue that will be available for fans to get front row viewing of the event -- but reservations are encouraged as seating will be limited.

Just two weeks away, New Year's Eve is a time where festivities abound and the air is abuzz with celebration. However, in preparation for your big night out, here are some tips to ensure your New Years Eve and New Year's Day go off without a hitch.

Champagne is a typical New Year's Eve libation, but have you ever been around someone who is unfamiliar with the proper way to open a champagne bottle? In the name of injury prevention, owner Gilles Fougeres of La Bastide Bistro in Scripps Ranch provided a few tips on the proper way to open a bottle of bubbly.

First off, always keep champagne chilled at 45 degrees. Warm champagne corks tend to fly off the bottle at a more rapid rate. Secondly, always pop away from your face and others. Also, use a towel over the top of the cork when unscrewing it, as this helps diffuse some of the force of the cork.

Now, fast forward to New Year's Day. You had a wonderful time the night before -- maybe too good of a time and you're not feeling completely yourself.

In honor of the New Year, the staff over at Gaslamp Tavern researched some of the bizarre methods that people of various cultures have used in the past to recover from a night out.

For example, 19th-century chimney sweeps cured their hangovers by drinking warm milk flavored with a dash of soot. Back in the Middle Ages, the knights preferred to chow down on bitter almonds and raw eels. Supposedly, the Aussies solved their dilemma by gulping down a raw egg seasoned with salt, vinegar and cayenne pepper.

Besides culinary concoctions, in Haiti, some supposedly shoved 13 black-headed pins into the cork or cap of the bottle of spirits, which was the original cause of their predicament.

Regardless of how you celebrate, be safe. Happy holidays!

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