Fire and the Fourth of July go together like America and bald eagles. When the most American of American holidays rolls around, it's become customary to start up the barbecue, build a mean campfire, and of course, light off fireworks in the name of independence. We get it: it's hard to feel sad when shooting off bright colored explosions of light into the air.
But in many areas of the country, fireworks aren't an option. Some cities and counties ban the use of fireworks, and often there are fire restrictions in place by the time July rolls around in an attempt to prevent wildfires. Plus, countless injuries and accidents are caused by the mixture of alcohol and explosives. Whether you're just following the law or you want to reduce your risk of starting a forest fire in your area, celebrating the fourth can be just as fun without the use of open flames. Read on for our list of food, drinks, and activities to make your Independence Day party lit without lighting anything on fire.
It's summer, it's hot, it's a holiday, why spend your down time sweating over a fire? No need for a campfire or barbecue if you pack up a cooler with some cold dishes and have everyone dish up picnic-style. Some ideas for flameless foods:
- Macaroni Salad
- Potato Salad
- Sandwich Bar
- Cold Cuts
- Fruit Tray (extra points for red, white, and blue arrangements)
- Veggie Tray
- Pinwheel Wraps
- Watermelon Slices
- Cheese and Crackers
- Cucumber salad
- Chips and Salsa
- Ice Cream for dessert
Now that you don't have to worry about someone drunkenly setting themselves on fire, you can enjoy your 4th of July beverages with ease. Pack your cooler with American made beers or a growler from your local craft brewery and get to celebrating.
If beer's not your style, try these Fourth of July inspired cocktails:
Cranberry Lime Firework
2 shots vodka
1 cup cranberry juice
2 cans lime hard seltzer
Add vodka, cranberry juice, seltzer, and some blackberries to a Javapress french press. Use the plunger handle to gently mix and muddle the blackberries, then strain into a glass over ice. Top with blackberries.
Red White and Blue Slushie
1 cup grenadine
6 oz Blue Curacao
6 oz vodka
2 cups lemonade
9-10 cups ice
Red layer: In a Vortex Blender, add 3 cups ice, 1 cup grenadine, and 1/2 cup lemonade and blend, adding more ice if necessary, until a thick slush has formed (the thicker the better, this is the bottom layer). Pour in pint glass.
White layer: Blend 3 cups ice, 1 cup lemonade, 6oz vodka until slushy and gently pour over red layer.
Blue layer: Blend 3 cups ice, 1/2 cup lemonade, and 6oz Blue Curacao. Pour over white layer and serve.
Once your guests are fed and have drinks in hand, it's time for activities! If your campsite is by a lake, opportunities about for enjoyment in the water. If you're not so lucky, here are some other ways to stay entertained without launching bottle rockets into the sky.
Beer pong: the adult way. Ditch the single use cups!
Table Tennis Tourney: if beer pong's not your thing, try playing table pong while drinking beer. Just as fun. Hook this set up to any table surface at get paddling.
Horseshoes: a one-handed game - perfect for holding a drink with one hand and tossing with the other on this Freestyle Horseshoes set.
Ladderball: Who needs fireworks when you've got fire bean bag tossing skills. This portable ladderball/cornhole set sets up in seconds for instant competition wherever you celebrate.
Scary Stories: once it gets dark, gather around a lantern and share some scary stories - props to you if you give your story an Independence Day theme.
It can be disappointing to spend the Fourth without shooting off fountains and taking Instagram pics with sparklers. Try these alternatives for fun lighting without the risk:
- Glow sticks
- Strobe lights
- Flashing party necklaces
- Twinkle lights around camp (battery powered)
- Bang snaps
- Bubble wrap popping party (satisfying fireworks sounds without flames!)
With the right attitude and ingenuity, your flameless Fourth can be just as fun as a traditional fireworks party without the worry of someone getting hurt or the flames getting out of hand. Because nothing says AMERICA like preventing wildfires!