we pleased and celebrate in the grandest ways available. Firework displays became larger each year, and fireworks sold to families became louder, brighter and more dangerous. Children allowed to set off fireworks without proper supervision were burned or injured and sometimes even killed because of the danger.
Now many states throughout the country are no longer allowing fireworks. They are dangerous for children and adults alike. Also our celebration of independence happens to fall during fire season making the danger of home fires and forest fires even greater. So how do you celebrate today? You celebrate like it was 1776 and each year there after!
We are going to learn to celebrate the old fashioned frontier way without fireworks and of course without guns. The good old times are going to be brought to every backyard choosing an old fashioned and fun family time along with friends and community. There will always be a bit of the grand of today so don’t worry you are going to miss something. You won’t miss a thing!
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Gather your family and friends and make the decision where the celebration with take place. It can be your front yard or your back yard, but prepare to have a great time. Everyone in the family is going to be involved in this one.
Get your yard ready with a good mowing a few days prior so the grass can settle. Water the day before, but don’t over water. You don’t want the ground to be mushy. Set up chairs, picnic tables and benches the morning of the celebration. You’ll want to build, borrow and create a place of importance for speeches. This can be anything from a podium, a small stage made from sturdy wood or even just an area roped off with ribbon and several little flags stuck in the ground around it. Make it look festive and all red, white and blue.
A barbecue is a great way to celebrate, but you are going to save that for later in the day. Just have the grill in place, the steaks marinating, the hot dogs and buns ready for later. Make sure everyone knows ahead of time there will be speeches and fun for all. Set your time for everyone to arrive and make it early, because you aren’t going to want to waste a minute of this wonderful day.
When everyone arrives bring out a large, clean, new metal bucket you can buy at any hardware store. Fill it half full of good drinkable water. Bring kids and adults around and provide lemons, cut in half. Everyone gets to take part in squeezing lemons into the water. For every five gallons of water use about one dozen lemons. Make sure all lemons are clean, because after they have been squeezed you are going to throw half of them into the water for extra flavor.
Bring out the sugar and add enough to make the lemon water sweet to taste. It’s going to take a pretty good amount of sugar so make sure you have enough on hand. Stir the sugar into the water and add more water until you are about 1/3 from the top of the bucket. Now you’ll add enough ice to fill it to the top. Use an old fashioned dipper and a brand new one to fill cups and glasses of fresh, sweet, cold lemonade. Everyone helped and it starts the celebration off with a bang.
Next you are going to have a few games ready. For the kids provide pillow cases for a sack race across the yard. Have at least 3 rounds of races. The one that comes in first place gets a $5 bill. The rest get a good candy bar. No one is a loser in any of the games of the day.
Now for snacks and visiting. Tell everyone to have a bite of the greatest snacks around and announce when the next challenge will be. For the snacks provide cookies, fresh fruit and cheese and crackers. It is meant to keep everyone from getting too hungry before dinner, but not to fill up too much.
Next game is for the men. A good old-fashioned arm wrestling. When the competition begins everyone should join in on the cheering. A word of warning. Do not take this game to seriously. I have witnessed grown men break an arm and have to go to the emergency room. This tends to ruin the rest of your personal celebration. After the competition take a break. I don’t mean an arm!
Now for the women of the family. It’s to be a competition in cooking. This is to be a very light competition meant to add extra food to the celebration. Pick a theme such as sauces, drinks, snacks or anything simple. You can even see who can buy the most interesting, unique or unusual snack. Everyone gets a chance to taste unless it involves alcohol then only the adults are allowed to taste.
Now for the speeches. Each person can pick a subject or you can make one speech. It does not have to be serious and it is better if it’s not. We are doing our best to support our country in this day and age so pick something everyone can relate too. The economy of today. Maybe a speech about the economy of the 1800’s and the expense of a dang new horse. Let the kids tell what they like best about Fourth of July or why they love summer.
Do not get into fights over politics. That may have been an issue long ago, but it is not going to be an issue today. This is for celebration. Save the family fights for Thanksgiving! Once the speeches are done have the grill hot and slap on the steaks and hot dogs. If your area is safe enough set up some torches for extra light and a few candles on the table.
Provide steaks, chicken, hot dogs, good old fashioned breads, real butter, baked potatoes, a salad with dressings and a bowl of baked beans. For desert serve apple pie, cookies and blueberries over pound cake. All can be store bought or part of the cooking (or buying ) competition.
By the time evening rolls around the kids are tired, the adults are happy and full of good food and you can congratulate yourself on a job well done and everyone safe in arms. Our country may be in turmoil, but we are a strong nation of even stronger frontier stock. The hard times will pass and our kids will grow up with a few good memories of what Fourth of July was like.
Be creative with the games, celebration, food and such. You don’t have to follow the above plan, but you can create your own. Horse races were common at the time so you can make stick horse for the children or even the adults to add laughter to your celebration. Make it a tradition for your family, friends and community. Happy and safe Fourth of July to everyone!