The fourth of July has been a traditional day of family, friends and fun for Americans while July 1st is when Canadians do the same to celebrate their birth as a country. Both feature barbeques, potato salad, fireworks, games, potato salad, dances and more potato salad. I may be mistaken, but I believe that potato salad was one of the first foods brought over by the Pilgrims.
Anyway, here are a few suggestions.
Invitations that are sent out can include a small flag, a paper plate, plastic knife and fork, along with a balloon or two. This will prepare your guests for the party of the year!
Food & Drink
It has been said that a man will not cook without the element of danger! That’s why they invented the barbeque. There are probably a dozen tips I can offer but I won’t. Every man’s grill is his kingdom and he is the king. The only advice that can be given is by another man who is standing next to the King while holding a cold beverage. The advice itself must always contain a compliment, so as not to offend. “Great job Bob, just a little more sauce and it’ll cover all that pink!” or “It takes a tough man to cook a tough burger. Can I get you another drink Bob?”
Potato salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, fruit salad, potato salad, jelly salad, potato salad and bean salad. Enough said!
Bread is available from many bakeries in different colors. If you can’t find it at the bakery, try adding food coloring to your own batter. If the filling of the sandwich is close to white (such as tuna mixed with mayonnaise), it can be used as the middle color with a piece of red and a piece of blue colored bread on either side. If not, make “triple decker” sandwiches by using a regular piece of white bread for the middle while the outside slices can be red and blue. Star shaped cookie cutters are great to make patriotic shapes. Toothpicks with little flags are also available at most grocery stores. This adds the “catered” look to any sandwich arrangement.
Preparing desserts in patriotic colors is always a nice touch. Gelatin desserts can be made by placing a layer of red gelatin on the bottom of glass cup. Allow to set in the refrigerator and repeat with a clear layer. This would have to be made by using regular gelatin from one of those companies that doesn’t advertise with a celebrity. Repeat with a blue layer, allow to set and serve. Cupcakes and other assorted squares can be decorated with red, white and blue frosting.
Activities, Games and Crafts
The games and activities are exactly the same as in any birthday party. Try not to keep score or track of who wins. The secret is to keep them fun and noncompetitive. Relay games are extremely popular, space permitting. These games usually involve adults and kids so try to make them even. Create teams that are balanced with the same amount of adults and kids. If you are to award prizes, have enough for everyone. No one should leave without a prize.
Eating contests are quite popular but should be supervised carefully. I strongly recommend that kids do not participate in these. The sight of a child being given the Heimlech maneuver will put a damper on any event. I would however recommend using the ever popular whipped cream in a contest. Each contestant is given a pie plate filled with whipped cream. Underneath the whipped cream is a name written on the plate. The contestants must then remove the whipped cream, without using their hands, to find the word.
A craft is a great way to wind things down before or after lunch. This will make your guests a little easier to control when lunch is served or will help them digest their food afterwards before they become active again.
Well, you need fireworks! Many towns, cities, community groups and private individuals have taken upon themselves to provide a fireworks show every year. These are usually produced by professionals and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. If there are none in your area, why not have your own? Please check with the local authorities first. Some areas do not allow it.
One year at summer camp I suggested that we have fireworks for our celebrations. Since the camp budget did not have an extra $15,000 to spend, it was decided that we would buy about $100 worth at a local gift shop. As you can imagine, safety was a major concern when fireworks and kids are involved.
Two large row boats, each with three large buckets half filled with sand were placed in the shallow end of the camp’s swimming area. The fireworks would be placed at an angle in a bucket so that they would fire towards the middle of the lake while the kids, sitting in their cabin groups, were on the beach. This provided a safe distance for the kids and staff to enjoy the twenty minute show. Even though it was not a large display everyone enjoyed themselves. The final event of the evening involved everyone being given a sparkler and joining in as we all sang a moving rendition of the national anthem that could be heard from miles around.
Again, safety is paramount to having a successful fireworks display. It is also a good idea to check with the proper authorities for their suggestions on how and where to have the fireworks.
Most discount and department stores will have plenty of patriotic items such as pencils, erasers, books and assorted treats. Flags and stickers are ideal for keeping the patriotic feeling going throughout the year.