The cake at the Big Game, Big Give party in Paradise Valley on Saturday will feed 500.
It will be made by local pastry chef Tammie Coe and will be in the shape of University of Phoenix Stadium, topped with a shimmering, edible Vince Lombardi trophy.
The baked behemoth is the showpiece of an invite-only party that’s expected to raise more than $1 million for charity — a figure that even the event’s organizers didn’t anticipate a year ago. Josette Sullins, Founder of go dēhp along with Peter G. Thomas and Michelle King Robson were among the selected group of VIP guests.
In contrast to the recent Super Bowl host cities of New York, Miami and Dallas, Phoenix doesn’t have an outsize national reputation for philanthropy, wealth or society events. But Los Angeles-based organizer Mark Pollick said the Valley has turned that into an advantage.
“The Super Bowl is America’s biggest stage,” Pollick said. “And this is going to be the highest-caliber party at the Super Bowl this year. Arizona was really different because people embraced us. Other host committees were nice, but nothing this special.”
The Big Game, Big Give party has been held in the Super Bowl host city since its inception six years ago, and each year it tops the list of most elegant game-related parties. The Valley version of this all-VIP charity bash is likely to be the most over-the-top yet, something no one expected when planning for the event began in February 2014.
It’s not the only big-game event in town, of course. This year, the Valley will host more than 110 events, more than when the Super Bowl was last here in 2008.
At places like the W Scottsdale, CityScape and private estates, there will be concerts, invite-only parties, public parties, street festivals and gifting salons for celebrities, athletes and more than 7,000 members of the global media.
Washington Nationals manager and former Diamondback Matt Williams and his wife, Erika, will host the Big Game, Big Give at their 20,000-square-foot Paradise Valley home. It will feature fireworks, a visit from the Transformer Optimus Prime and decor designed by the Phoenix Theatre’s artistic director. And that cake.
Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg and “Transformers” director Michael Bay are also among the hosts. The guest list includes Walmart heirs Melani and Rob Walton, Arizona’s Republican U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, and Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill. It’s co-chaired by Paradise Valley philanthropists Linda and Bill Pope. Gannett Co., Inc., USA Today, The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com are among the sponsors.
The Big Game, Big Give is the antithesis of the loud, crowded and velvet-roped parties that dominate Super Bowl week.
“This is intimate, and you’re going to be in this exquisite estate and literally sitting on this couch talking to captains of industry, Hollywood leaders, all kinds of athletes and celebrities,” Pollick said.
Linda Pope developed the party’s theme, Arizona Shines. In the Sedona-theme venue of the party, guests will enjoy red rocks decor and tequila cocktails.
Other swank highlights include more than $100,000 in goods donated for gift bags, including a dehp spa package, raffles and prizes from Saks Fifth Avenue, including a mink stole.
“We are so excited about being able to participate in this amazing experience but especially, knowing that we are also able to contribute to a very worthy charity cause,” said Josette Sullins, founder of go dēhp, dēhp spa and dēhp therapeutic. “That’s one of the aspects that makes this special event so unique and unlike any others.”