Saturday July 18, 2015
It’s just around the corner. The 4th of July is a banner holiday for Americans. We celebrate our freedom and the people who have dedicated their lives to preserving it for us. While it is traditional to have a July 4th cookout, why not try a different twist on this year’s Independence Day celebration?
Family Friendly FunFest
If you’re going to have kids (of all ages) at your gathering, release your inner child. Plan some outdoor games, like cornhole with one set of striped bags and one set of starry bags. And there’s game as American as baseball, so get a whiffle ball and bat, and set out the bases before your guests arrive for a Red versus Blue battle. Check out Surfnetkidsfor more 4th of July games.
The family friendly menu can be just as fun. Add some healthy flavor to your red, white, and blue theme by making skewers of strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows. Or hollow out a watermelon and use a star-shaped cookie cutter to make your melon pieces more festive.
Set up a lemonade stand with a variety of flavored lemonades, like strawberry, raspberry, and peach. Can’t find them already mixed? Just puree the fruit in a blender and stir it in.
Place coloring stations with poster board and crayons, where the children can draw pictures of what freedom means to them.
Hang a red, white, and blue piñata and have a red or blue bandanna ready to blindfold the players.
And what’s more kid-friendly than bubbles? Set out trays of the liquid (away from the food) with wands that have stars-and-stripes ribbons attached.
Stars & Stripes
There’s nothing more festive than the red, white, and blue of our stars and stripes. Encourage guests to dress in the theme, and offer a prize for the best costume.
For decorations, string white lights around the party area and hang red and blue stars from them. Decorate your great outdoors with streamers, ribbons, star covered balloons, and flags.
Lay out the food in striped patterns. Set out bottled drinks in the shape of star. Layer a parfait with strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows at the center of your buffet—or just used colored glass pebbles. Use small flag food picks to label everything on your serving table.
Patriotic and Simply Chic
If your tastes trend a bit more upscale, you can take a simply chic approach to your July 4th party. Put star-shaped white lights in large, clear glass vases. Wrap red and blue balloons in white tulle and tie with shimmery white star garlands.
Set your table with a red and white floral arrangement, accented with sheer blue ribbon, sparklers, or a softly draping flag. For your bar, blue glassware and red linens. Accent with empty wine bottles filled with white lights. Use all white place settings for a classic style. For an eclectic chic look, blend mismatched white dishes (spend a little time treasure hunting at thrift shops first).
If your party is outdoors, place oversized pinwheels around the area, with solar lights to brighten them up as the sun goes down. Set up a croquet set for some garden party activity. Plan a patriotic trivia game with questions about American history, U.S. Presidents, and the fifty states.
No matter what theme you choose, be sure you plan ahead and create a music playlist. Here are some song suggestions:
“4th of July” (Shooter Jennings)
“All American Girl” (Carrie Underwood)
“America” (Neil Diamond)
“America” (Simon and Garfunkel)
“America the Beautiful” (Ray Charles and Alicia Keyes)
“American Girl” (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
“American Pie” (Don McLean)
“American Soldier” (Toby Keith)
“Born in the USA” (Bruce Springsteen)
“Coming to America” (Neil Diamond)
“Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” (Toby Keith)
“God Bless America”
“God Bless the USA” (Lee Greenwood)
“Independence Day” (Bruce Springsteen)
“I’ve Been Everywhere” (Johnny Cash)
“Living in America” (James Brown)
“Living in the USA” (Linda Ronstadt)
“My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (Aretha Franklin)
“Philadelphia Freedom” (Elton John)
“Proud to Be an American” (Lee Greenwood)
“R.O.C.K. in the USA” (John Mellencamp)
“Star Spangled Banner” (Whitney Houston does a wonderful version)
“Surfin’ USA” (The Beach Boys)
“This Land is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie)
“Yankee Doodle Dandy”