It’s time for the quintessential summertime celebration that trumps all the rest. Because it falls so early in the month, the Fourth of July can tend to sneak up on you. If you haven’t made your plans yet ... you'd better! This coming Saturday is JULY 4TH. If you need some help, here are some All-American red, white and blue ideas to help get you started!
Fourth of July Picnic or BBQ: We put this first on the list because there is a good chance that you are having one. Whether it’s a casual family affair or an entire block party, the Fourth of July is a great time to enjoy food outdoors! Here are some simple ways to get into the spirit of this patriotic holiday without much effort.
• Table Décor. Decorate your table with the colors of red, white and blue and stars and stripes. Begin with a festive tablecloth and then top this with a table runner, red white a blue pinwheels, mini flags, and balloons.
• American-Style Fare. Now is your chance to enjoy everyone’s favorite All-American dishes. An easy and inexpensive Fourth of July barbecue idea is a hot dog bar. BBQ hot dogs on the grill and have a wide variety of condiments available to adorn your dogs. YUM!
• Food on a stick. There is nothing more fun for a picnic or barbecue than the simplicity of enjoying your favorite grilled items on a skewer. Not only does this eliminate some of the need for cutlery, but it’s just plain fun! Hot dogs and corn on the cob are two of our favorite easy-to-skewer and eat barbecue favorites.
• Beverages in Mason Jars. If you are having a smaller gathering, there is nothing that gives a down-home vibe to gathering than serving up your beverages in good ole’ fashioned Mason Jars.
• Red, White and Blue Foods. Don’t underestimate how inviting, fun and attractive the food itself can be as it adds to your Fourth of July holiday décor. There are tons of recipe ideas online for delicious as well as festive patriotic-themed foods. Cakes made to look like flags are one very popular idea. For a simpler way to serve cake try making plain vanilla cupcakes and decorating them with miniature American flags or pinwheels. Watermelon and blueberries can be combined to make an extremely simple, but flag-inspired fruit salad.
Fourth of July Games: No Fourth of July Picnic or barbecue is complete without a few county fair-style games. The old tried, and true favorites are the best! Try balloon darts, ring toss, relay races, and Cornhole and, of course, don’t forget everyone’s favorite--gunny sack races!
Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social: Perhaps you want to have a few of your friends over before or after the fireworks for a simpler gathering. What could be better than an old fashioned Ice Cream Social? All you need are some tubs of your favorite ice creams and lots of red, white and blue toppings. Another ice cream idea with true Americana appeal is to serve old-fashioned root beer floats. Feeling extra ambitious? Try making delicious homemade ice cream yourself for a super decadent treat!
Dessert Round-Up: Gather up your friends, neighbors and family members and have an All American Dessert round up. There are no rules, but sticking with a patriotic theme while satisfying your sweet tooth makes the celebrating that much more fun. Check online for all sorts of Fourth of July themed desserts such as Flag Cake or even Flag Fruit Pizza!
Drinks and Fireworks: If going out to watch the fireworks is part of your Fourth of July game plan, you may want to mix up a few beverages to enjoy while sitting outdoors underneath the stars. A very simple red, white and blue striped cocktail can be made for the grown ups by layering:
• 1/3 oz. Blue Curacao
• 1/3 oz. Grenadine
• 1/3 oz. Peach Schnapps
Float each of these on top of one another in chilled clear shot glasses to create a festive striped effect. Serve and enjoy immediately!
Try putting a small mixture of frozen sliced strawberries and blueberries into a glass and then pouring Sprite or 7up over the berries can achieve a festive, non-alcoholic beverage that is both simple and beautiful. This same drink may also be made with Kool-Aid,
Food Eating Contests: A food-eating contest is almost mandatory at a Fourth of July party! Divide your contest participants up into age groups and have small prizes available for the winners. What you use for your eating contest is up to you, but traditional favorites have been watermelon, pie or even hot dogs.
Photo Booth: Larger Fourth of July celebrations may enjoy a photo booth. Even if yours is just a family gathering, you will want to have some silly, fun and festive accessories on hand for all your Fourth of July photo opportunities. Hats, head boppers, boas, and silly glasses are just a few ideas of things you might want to have on hand.
Bike Decorating and Parade: One of the most fun ways to get your kids into the Fourth of July action and keep them busy is to hold a bike parade. Supply streamers, crepe paper, flags, construction paper, balloons and all sorts of red, white and blue decorations. Let the kids go to town and decorate their bikes however they want. After they are finished, have a bike parade with a lot of pageantries involved. Be sure to play some patriotic music in the background!
And Speaking of Parades…Don’t even think about being caught unprepared for your local July 4th festivities! There are many ways you can dress up for the occasion that will capture the essence and spirit of Independence Day. From Uncle Sam get-ups to looks inspired by the Founding Fathers or other legendary folks such as Betsy Ross--don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to get dressed up in an exciting patriotic costume!
Get Educated: Take advantage of this great holiday and use it as a tool for educating your children about an important era in American history. You can obtain and print a copy of the Declaration of Independence here. Teach your kids about what this legal document means, who drafted and signed it and didn't forget to talk about how it impacts our lives today. If you want an easier to understand version of the Declaration of Independence, check out the kid-friendly version.
Learn More About the Flag: Obviously there is not a more appropriate day to fly the American Flag than on the Fourth of July! Independence day is a great time to learn more about the American Flag, how it’s changed over the years, what each part of it symbolizes and, of course, how to care for it appropriately. Here are a few pointers on Flag etiquette.Happy Independence Day from your friends at Halloween Express