The Fourth of July is right around the corner, offering the perfect opportunity for homeowners to host backyard parties and get-togethers. Being that it’s a federal holiday, everyone who works for the government or a government-run service gets the day off work. And even many privately run companies are closed to celebrate Independence Day. So, if you’re planning to host a backyard bash this Fourth of July, here are some tips to make it a success.
Prepare Your Backyard
One of the first steps towards planning the perfect Fourth of July backyard bash is to prepare the area in which you will host the party. Whether it’s your patio, garden or even the driveway, you need to clean and prepare it before inviting friends over. This means mowing the lawn to ensure the grass isn’t overgrown, edging sidewalks and walking paths, and sweeping or blowing any standing debris.
You can also use this time to prepare seating for your guests. Think about how many people you intend to invite, and use this number to determine how many seats you need. It’s a good idea to “overshoot” your seating, however. If you plan on inviting 12 people, set up 15 or so chairs. It’s always better to have more chairs than not enough.
Choosing Your Fourth of July Foods
No Fourth of July party is complete without plenty of delicious food and beverages. Statistics show that Americans consume approximately 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day weekend. Of course, this shouldn’t come a surprise given that Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is held during this time of year. When most people thing of Independence Day foods, they immediately envision hot dogs. They are delicious, inexpensive, and can be prepared any number of different ways.
While hot dogs are always a great choice for the Fourth of July, there are other foods from which to choose as well.
Some popular grilled food ideas for the Fourth of July include:
- Corn on the cob
- Pork chops
To keep your beverages cold, you may want to prepare a cooler (or several). If you’re hosting the party in your backyard, and it’s a long walking distance to your home, a cooler will allow guests to retrieve ice-cold beverages without walking up to your home. Be warned, though, many gas stations and convenience stores sell out of ice early on the Fourth of July weekend, so buy it ahead of time.
Dishware and Cutlery
You’ll also need dishware and cutlery to kick off your Fourth of July backyard bash. Rather than using your own plates, dishes, cups, etc., consider using disposable ones. No one wants to spend hours washing dishes after hosting a party, which is why disposable dishware is preferred. Guests can grab their own plates and cups, and they can dispose of them when they are finished (keep a trash can near the food and eating area).
An alternative to plastic is compostable dishware and cutlery. As the name suggests, compostable dishware and cutlery turns to compost after a short period of time, breaking down into nutrient-rich food for plants. Assuming you have a compost bin, you can ask guests to place their compostable dishware and cutlery into your compost bin. This eliminates waste while creating fertilizer for your plants and flowers in the process. The only downside is that compostable dishware and cutlery tends to cost more than traditional plastic dishware and cutlery.
Don’t wait until the last minute to send your invitations. With Independence Day fast approaching, you should get them in the mail ASAP. You can create basic invitations using card stock paper, or you can buy pre-made invitations. In your invitations, let guests know where the party is taking place (e.g. your backyard, with a street address), how long it will last, whether food will be served, and what they need to bring (if anything). You can include your phone number on the invitations in case guests have trouble finding your home.
In addition to an actual invitation, you should also call and invite guests over the phone. This ensures they get the message regardless of whether the invitation arrives in their mailbox.
Fireworks Safety 101
If you plan on shooting fireworks off this Independence Day, you should follow some basic safety tips to protect against injury and property damage. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), roughly 230 people receive medical treatment at hospital emergency rooms every year on Independence Day for fireworks injuries.
Here are some fireworks safety tips to protect against injury and property damage:
- Follow all local and state laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Never attempt to relight a “dud” firework.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Do not shoot fireworks from bottles or buckets.
- Beware of sparklers, as they can burn at temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep a bucket of water of garden hose nearby in case of an incidental fire.
Following the tips listed here will help make your Fourth of July backyard bash one to remember.
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