July 4th – An American Holiday
We have just a few days until the 4th of July, our own American Holiday. Bella Vista and the surrounding area offers several events you can attend to celebrate, but what if you would like to celebrate at home and have your own Party? Here are some suggestions for you for a BBQ cookout and some Games.
The Bella Vista Online Mall has a “Seasonal Shop” where you can purchase items for your party if needed. Check it out.
Plan a Perfect BBQ Party
Barbeques are popular for events such as the 4th of July, birthday parties, receptions, and going away parties. No matter why you have decided to plan a barbecue party, the memories that will come from it are sure to stick with your guests for many years to come, provided that you plan ahead.
Planning the perfect BBQ party is not difficult, as long as you follow a few simple steps.
- First, no barbeque would be complete without guests. Plan ahead of time, checking with your potential guest for scheduling conflicts and issues. Finding a date and time that is suitable for everyone should not be too far as long as you everyone enough advanced notice. Remember that not everyone will be able to come, no matter how much notice you give them, so do not get discouraged if you do not get as many RSVPs as you originally hoped for.
- Be sure to check the weather for that type of year. If you live in a climate that cannot be predicted, then you may want to have a backup plan just in case unusual weather comes. You cannot predict things like rain and thunderstorms ahead of time, but you can make sure that you hold your barbecue during the time of year that will be pleasant to your guests. A barbecue in cold weather may hold more negative memories of trying to keep warm rather then good memories of family and friends.
- Purchase the type of meat that you will be serving at your party. You will want to have a least a couple of different kinds of meats, as everyone attending may not like a certain kind. It is usually safe to go with pork, sausage, hamburgers, and chicken. If smaller children are going to be in attendance, you should consider child-friendly foods such as smaller hamburgers and hot dogs.
- Once you have the meat purchased, you will then want to consider what type of sides dished you will serve. If you want a complete traditional barbecue, you may want to stick with traditional sides. Traditional barbeque sides include potatoes, potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. Your traditional condiment bar should include pickles, relish, and onions. These foods are typically served at barbeques because they are easy to prepare and store until the event happens. You may want to cook other items, but any barbeque is complete with just the items listed above. Once again, if children will be present, you may want to consider sides for them as well.The simplest approach to side dishes is chips and dip. Chips and dip do not require any cooking on your part, and will still be loved by the majority of your guests.
- Depending on the theme of your party, you may or may not want to purchase decorations. Festive decorations can be found at any local party or general store. You may also consider purchasing decorations that can be stored and reused at a different time, such as reusable tablecloths and Tiki torches.
- The day before your party, you will want to make sure to thaw, prepare, and marinate the meat you will be cooking. Store the meat stored away, soaking up the marinade until it is time for it to go on the grill. Prepare any side dishes that you can ahead of time.
- The day of the party, get up early and start preparing for it. You do not want your guest arriving while you are still cooking or hanging decorations. It should only take you a few hours at most to prepare the area in which you will be having the party, but the reactions from your guest will probably seem as if you have been planning this for weeks. Try to have the grill already going by the time the guests get there as well because the smell coming from the grill is sure to get everyone in the mood.
Veggies can Take Center State at your 4th of July Cookout
Your annual 4th of July cookout is quickly approaching. Whether you’re expecting vegetarian guests, you’ve newly transitioned to vegetarianism yourself, or you’d just like to incorporate more meatless recipes to give some variety to your cookout menu, there are all kind of ways to prepare meatless options.
Before beginning, remember that most vegetarian foods are more fragile than meat, and do not contain as much fat. Therefore, a clean and well-lubricated grill is essential to successfully grill vegetables. It’d be a shame for those beautifully grilled peppers to stick to the grill!
Traditionally, vegetables have been considered a side dish in most meals, but at a cookout, they can take center stage as the entrée. Almost any kind of vegetable is great for grilling. Complement your meal by serving them over pasta, rice or polenta. You can also make them into extraordinary sandwiches with a soy-based cheese and some freshly baked rolls or bread.
Cut the vegetables lengthwise into thin slices in the case of zucchini and eggplant, or into thick rings, in the case of onions, tomatoes and peppers. If you’d rather have your veggies in handy bite-size pieces for serving with pasta and the like, try using a special pan for the grill with small holes that keep the veggies from falling through the grill and being lost. And probably the easiest way to grill vegetables on the grill is shish-ka-bob style!
Don’t forget to balance out those grilled vegetables with some fresh fruit salads, perfectly chilled and juicy. Watermelon, strawberries, grapes, and citrus fruits all complement one another well in a delightful fruit salad prepared with non-dairy whipped cream. Also, use fruits to experiment with some fun smoothies and slushies for the kids – they’re fun and better for them than sugary sodas.
4th of July games
If you’re hosting a 4th of July party, there are hours and hours to fill before the highlight events of the day begin – the fireworks. You’ll want to have plenty of activities and games planned to keep everyone busy and entertained.
There are a variety of games you can plan that have a patriotic theme.
This game involves relaying a balloon down a line of people. Use balloons that are red, white and blue and tell the participants they will be using their hands and their legs to pass the balloon down the line. Create two teams of people, and line them up in straight lines. Give the first person a balloon and tell them to put it between their legs, passing the balloon to the next person in line with their legs only. That person will take the balloon and pass it to the next person by putting it over their head. That third person will put the balloon between their legs and pass to the next person like that. The game continues until the balloon has passed all the way down the line. If you have a small group, require that the balloon get passed down the line and back again before declaring a winner.
Chalk it up
Pick a panel of judges (the oldest members of the family are the obvious picks) and have them become the official judges for a chalk contest. Break your guests into two teams (or more, depending on how many people are at the party) and give them each one or two containers of sidewalk chalk. Tell them to create a sidewalk picture that shows something patriotic, and tell them the flag must be included in the picture. Give them a time limit (depending on your group, this time limit might range from 10 minutes to 45 minutes) and then have the judges declare a winner after they have carefully examined all the artwork. You could have art-themed prizes for the winners.
One fun 4th of July activity that just screams “4th of July!” is a parade with decorated bikes, scooters and the like. Ask everyone who comes to the party to decorate their bike or scooter or other items in patriotic garb. You can have people bring them to the party already decorated and have a contest for “best bike”, etc., but also fun is to have a decorating party within the party. Have all the items on hand to decorate the bikes and scooters and skateboards. You might have streamers, banners, flags, and ribbons. The children and adults can decorate their bikes and scooters as a party activity.
These games are always popular for just about any occasion. Fill a large jar with peppermint candy (the red and white striped kind) and decorate it with blue and red ribbon. Have people guess how many candies are in the jar (which of course means you count as you place the candies in the jar). The winner, or the person who comes closest to the number without going over, gets the jar of candy.
If you’re having fireworks at your home, you might have a big box of assorted fireworks. Everyone has their personal favorites and people might have clear ideas of what they want to see and hear. You can play a game to determine who gets to pick the next firework to go off next. You might ask trivia questions (why are there 13 stars on the flag?). Or you can have a dance-off. While music plays in the background, each person who really wants to pick the next firework to go off has to dance the craziest, silliest dance they can come up with. Someone who’s been designated a judge will decide who won the dance off and that person gets to pick the next fireworks item. Unless there are more fireworks than people, each person only gets to pick one.
Don’t forget to check out our Seasonal Shop” for 4th of July “Stuff”.
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