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In our house, we love the Fourth of July. We love the flag-themed attire, the fireworks and especially the cookouts. Hosting a Fourth of July cookout is a great way to get everyone together to celebrate.
Like all get-togethers, it can be expensive. If you are put off by the possible cost of hosting such a party, don’t worry. There are ways to offset the cost of a great family cookout. I have come up with some tips to help you host a great July 4 party that won’t hurt your budget and will allow you to still remember the day for all the right reasons.
If you are a decorator and need party decorations, try making your own. Luckily, this is a holiday where all you need are red white and blue decorations. Blue napkins, white plates, red cups maybe? Get the kids involved. Have them make a paper chain of garland with red, white and blue construction paper. Easy, right?
You can also use your food for decoration. One year we made a sheet cake, covered it with white icing and used fruit to top it to look like an American flag. We used blueberries for the stars and strawberries for the stripes. You can also do a fruit kabob using blueberries, strawberries and small marshmallows. Start with four or five blueberries, then alternate strawberries and the marshmallows. This will really add to your Fourth of July feel as well as double as part of your meal.
As far as the main course, you could do a potluck meal. Ask family and friends to take a side dish and/or dessert. Most people are happy to take something and even ask, “Is there anything I can bring?” When this happens, let them. Some people love to cook and would jump at the chance to show off their cooking skills.
If you are looking to do the cooking yourself, look at your sales papers and coupons. Grocery stores are going to put on sale what they think people are buying during a certain time. The chances of hot dogs, hamburgers and buns being on sale is high for the week leading up to July 4. The best part about this is the coupons put in your local paper are going to also reflect what you may be buying for your celebration. Pair these coupons with the sales to maximize your savings.
Entertainment is easy. Go watch fireworks. Wilson as well as surrounding towns will have fireworks shows just in time for an after-dinner show. Remember to take your chair or blanket to sit on. If you are not looking to travel after your cookout, you can have a few small activities planned at the party. For children, maybe have a pool outside or slip and slide. Who doesn’t love a slip and slide? Adults at the party could even get in on that kind of fun.
Sparklers are also a great activity for all ages. We typically don’t buy a lot of the fireworks. We usually just buy the $1 pack of sparklers for the kids, and they love them. Show them that they can write with them in the air, and if will keep them entertained for as long as the sparklers last.
Throwing a great Fourth of July party doesn’t have to break the bank. With some creativity and planning, you can easily impress your guests without going over budget.
Just remember that with any party it’s not about what is there but who is there. July 4 should be a day filled with patriotism, food and fun. We are celebrating America’s birthday after all.
Happy Fourth of July and happy savings.
Chelsey Edens writes a monthly column for The Wilson Times.