Planning ahead will ensure a stress free fun event. First, plan who you are going to invite – family, friends and neighbors. Address and mail your invitations 2 weeks in advance. Also, e-vites are popular, inexpensive, easy and usually free.
Next, plan your menu. A great traditional 4th of July menu would consist of hamburgers, hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, chips with dip, baked beans, deviled eggs, watermelon fruit boat, apple pie, banana pudding, homemade ice cream and smores. Planning a menu and asking your quests to bring a dish from the list is always a good help.
Start weeks in advance collecting “foo-foo” for your red, white and blue 4th of July tablescape. The local dollar store has a really good selection of 4th of July theme decorations…and they are only a $1.00!!! Some “foo-foo” décor suggestions are: patriotic candy, jewelry, pinwheels, hats, scarfs, banners, bunting, flags and garland. Plastic buckets filled with ice are fun and functional. Pick items that can be repurposed, for instance, a red and white checkered or gingham tablecloth can be repurposed. Keep in mind the decorations purchased for 4th of July will work just as well for Memorial Day.
Don’t forget the fireworks!!! Vendors begin setting up roadside and parking lot tents weeks in advance.
If you have a fire pit or have the advantage to build a bonfire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows are great ways to entertain the children…and adults alike!!!
Plan an agenda for games and activities for the children. Make a list of needed items and materials such as bobbing for apples, three-legged race, face painting and a patriotic ‘Uncle Sam hat” piñata.
Here’s a great idea, but will require some planning ahead; ask guests with children if they would like to pool their money and hire a responsible high school student for one or two hours to supervise the kids games and activities. This will be a great way to free up some much needed adult time.
When the festivities begin to die down the best ending to a day of great food, fellowship and fun…sparklers and fireworks!!!
Help hint: Most of the dishes listed can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator until time to cook.
Note: coleslaw and potato salads taste better the next day.