by Dana B. Bryant
What does Independence Day mean to you and your family?
Is it more than just hamburgers, fried chicken, hot dogs and sparklers? For some the day holds a special meaning, and others, it's a way to not have to go to work. In the U.S., the fourth of July is a national holiday.
Everyone is eager to relax, cut loose, and celebrate. We have t throw in a friendly reminder to keep little hands away from big things that go, "boom!"
As you get ready to celebrate, we thought we'd put together and share our top ten favorite activities uniting fun, food, and good company!
1. Bake a Patriotic Cake
Show off that spirit with a spectacular, yummy treat! Decorate a cake or cheese cake with seasonal fresh fruit. You can use colored icing or make the background out of blueberries and line up raspberries for stripes. You can use a whipped topping or icing for white stripes if you are able to refrigerate the cake.
2. Head to the Beach
Pack up the beach bag and don't forget the sunscreen! Sun, sand, and surf await as you experience a holiday full of fun! Meet up with friends early to grab a prime spot. Some beaches have barbecue pits as well for a great fourth of July blowout!
3. Read the "Declaration of Independence"
Sure, it sounds hokey, but it's a pretty good civics lesson. Younger kids might find it funny if you put on your best, most pompous voice. Teenagers, while they laugh at you, might be more interested than you expect because they're studying it. You and your partner might get a few tingles as you read this foundational American document.
4. Crank Out Some Homemade Ice Cream
While old-fashioned cranking takes time, there is truly no match for a homemade batch of your favorite frozen treat! Get creative and make your own masterpiece that would make an ice cream store jealous!
5. Throw a Party!
The fourth of July is a perfect time to host a neighborhood block party! Call your pals, gals, extended family and throw them together with some assorted half-strangers. Issue invites in person by going door-to-door. Have sign-ups for drinks, chips, paper plates, hot dogs, and other items so no one is burdened by the cost. Have everyone bring their own lawn chairs to meet either in a common green area or at your own yard. If safe, have a kiddie bike/trike/stroller parade. This is a great way to meet and mingle!
6. Play Safely With Sparklers
Sparklers call up memories of childhood and allow you an instant start to getting-to-know-you conversation. Write out words with sparklers and have your friends guess what they are. You'll all laugh at the silliness of simply running around the backyard while drawing characters in the air.
7. Look Locally
What better way to celebrate the uniqueness of your hometown than on Independence Day? Check with your local chamber of commerce or historical society for tours and events. If it's a nice day, opt for a walking tour to allow you and your family to go at your own pace.
8. Let's Go Out to the Ball Parkl
"Take me out to the ballgame..." Grab a slice of Americana as you grab your mitt, your spouse, and the kids and head out to the park. It doesn't have to be a major league match. Minor league or even community leagues can offer even more excitement.
9. Plan a Picnic
What's in your basket? Fried chicken, potato salad, apple pie…? Pack up your favorites, a blanket, and head to your special spot in the mountains or park. Bring a game to play to burn off those calories, then later bask under the stars as you reflect on how great it is to live in the "land of the free!"
10. Who Doesn't Like Fireworks?
Fireworks and things that go, "boom" are the ideal way to end to any Independence Day celebration. Between the "ooo's and ahhh's," beautiful bursts of color, lights, and sounds fill the night sky, your hearts and voices will soar! The celebration certainly stirs something inside all of us, young and old alike.
How will you be celebrating? Share with us!