10th Jun, 2011

Hosting a 4th of July Picnic

Yes, it’s hard to believe we just had Memorial Day weekend, and in two weeks we will have another summer celebration, the 4th of July! To make your house and backyard sparkle and pop, here are some tips to have the neighbors bragging about you to their friends.

1. Stick with red, white and blue color themes. For an updated version, try the lighter blues you see in stores. Some very chic decorating items include: hurricane lanterns, mason jars for drinking glasses, Chinese paper lanterns with lights strung around the party area, flags to hand to the guests, and white candles.

2. Keep the food easy to prepare, but throw in a few extra touches here and there to really make the guests sing. Hot dogs and gourmet brats from the butcher. Hamburgers plain for the kiddos, and with spices or additional flavors for the adults. Recipes abound on FoodNetwork.com, among other sites. Watermelon is classic, as are fruit trays with yogurt dips, and veggie trays with dip or humus. Cherry Pie is about as American as you can get, so feel free to serve up the three classics Cherry, Apple and Blueberry for the red, white and blue theme. Cupcakes are very trendy right now, and there are countless ways to make these extra special, so get creative! Make sure you are serving water for all guests, and have enough kid-friendly and adult beverages on hand for all. Sangria sparklers, or berry sparklers have a whimsical feel to them, mojitos and margaritas are tasty, and nothing quenches the thirst like a cold local brew.

3. Have games and activities for all guests. If you don’t have a pool for the kids to swim in, no sweat! Set up an area in the backyard with an inflatable pool, a slip ‘n’ slide, sprinkler or anything you feel comfortable with. Decorate bottles of bubbles for the kids to blow. Set up games everyone can play such as volleyball, badmitton, bags, ladder golf, potato sack races, or bocce.

4. When the lights go down, offer sparklers to anyone who is old enough. Many accidents happen this time of year with people lighting their own fireworks, so I will strongly recommend going to a city-sponsored fireworks display.

5. Box up cupcakes or other sweets as a thank you for coming.

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