Don’t stray from tradition! You can do anything from upscale barbecue with short ribs and tenderloin, to burgers and dogs on the grill. Who doesn’t love a good dog, or five, in the D.C. summer heat? Stick with classic Fourth of July meals. The terms gluten-free, dairy-free, and organic don’t apply on this holiday. For some colored treats, cut watermelon with a star cookie cutter. How cute is that?
Other star spangled treats include berry trifle with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries, and red velvet cake with white icing and patriotic sprinkles. Beware: special icings and dark shades in desserts will leave your guests with colored teeth. No one wants to leave the party with a red, white, and blue mouth.
Clear drink dispensers are a great investment for backyard gatherings. Buy three dispensers and fill one with water, one with a red drink like fruit punch, and the third with a blue cocktail. Refreshing summer drinks including a grapefruit crush or pineapple crush can be great options too. Just add coloring to them so they look perfect for the Fourth of July. If you want to go all out, you can also look into renting a frozen margarita machine! That way you don’t have to keep making drinks for guests with the blender and can enjoy your own cocktail instead. Just make sure the adults don’t try to set off fireworks after all these drinks.
Red white and blue fabric draped in the backyard looks cute and classy. Bunting is also a great go-to, even the White House staff bunts for the holiday! Flowers also look pretty outside. If it’s easy to find white hydrangea, blue delphinium and red roses (or some other red, white, and blue combo), you can do flower displays. To keep things simpler, stick some white flowers in a red vase or vice versa. Take your Claritin before organizing all the flowers.
Host the party outside. People invite a billion friends and relatives to town for such a holiday, so get them out of the house! Borrow pop up tents from a neighbor (or rent them) so you have shade for people. Another cool tip: wind some extension cords outside for fans. Whatever you do, have a rain plan! If you have it, you won’t need it and have plenty of water so no one overheats. Check out our other guide on keeping the sweat away during summer on Capitol Hill.
Be the host with the most
Decide where to put the food and drinks early on, because that’s where all your guests will congregate. They go where the booze goes. Make sure you practice making desserts and cute decorations for the first time on a smaller scale before you go for it on the day of. This tip helps things go more smoothly when it comes time for the real party. No one likes to run around like a chicken with its head cut off instead of enjoying the soiree. Pinterest says everything is easy, but not all of us are the Martha Stewarts of D.C. When you’re ready to kick people out, just yell the fireworks are about to start on the National Mall!
Basically: go overboard. This is America, damn it.
This article was originally posted in 2016.