Warning: This post has turned into a rather long pictorial, so grab a snack or at least a beverage before viewing.
Two years ago my Dear Friend (and neighbor) and I observed that every one in our cul de sac was barbecuing with friends and family on their perspective driveways and decks. As the evening wore on, all the the separate get togethers ended up mixing and mingling in the cul de sac; while we lit off our stock piles of fireworks and waited for the city fireworks display to begin (our neighborhood is a half mile from the county fairgrounds, where they light off the annual city fireworks display. Thus, we have a spectacular view, and why we always have a large number of family and friends converge on our neighborhood). That night the light dawned for both of us, we decided that why not throw a block party! Since we all end up mingling anyway, why not start off that way with a big block party. Last year was such a hit, we decided to make it an annual event.
Since my Dear Friend and I are all about keeping our soirees on a budget, we implemented a few savvy tricks to throw a great party, but not break the bank. Our best tip is to plan well in advance, so that you can take advantage of sales and promotions at the local stores.
First, ALWAYS get yourself a partner in crime, if you are about to plan a large scale party. Of course, my Dear Friend is always up for a challenge. Everything is MUCH more fun with a friend (especially mine)!!!
We, also filled coolers with ice a sodas (which we also bought on sale with coupons). A borrowed insulated drink dispenser was filled with ice water. In fact, we borrowed several table from neighbors so we had enough space for all the food and drinks.
Of course, we appointed a grill master to grill hot dogs (which we bought in June for $.50 a package on a loss leader sale with coupons). We stocked up on hot dog buns at two grocery stores that were offering $.48 packages of buns.
We used a store promo to buy fried chicken. It was cheaper and easier than buying hamburgers to grill. The promo included 50 pieces of chicken and a half sheet cake for $49.99. We ended up ordering two promos.
We turned the sheet cakes into birthday cakes for two of our guest who have birthdays. One on the 4th and one on the 5th.
We provided the meat and drinks, and asked all the invitees to bring a potluck dish to share. Potlucks are the best way to keep food costs down. Plus you get to sample lots of great food (and maybe, glean a recipe or two).
Be sure to invite some one who is talented and is willing to whip up a festive Jello mold!
Always watch the sky for the potential thunder/ rain/ hail storm that may be on the horizon. Then hurriedly form a Plan B in the back of you heads.
Gather all the guest up to hurry and grab some chow before the rain starts to fall!
Then put Plan B into effect, and drag all the tables of food (and guests) into the garage for the duration of the storm.
Now you sit the garage and visit and eat and watch the torrential downpour (and the hail bouncing off the grass).
And watch the kids that aren't deterred by a cloud burst.
When the storm blows over and the sun comes back out, again. You breathe a sigh of relief, and then you take a moment to be thankful that the rain has cooled the temperature down 20 degrees.
Soon the party is back in full swing!! Floating tub toys in the water running down the gutter.
Every party needs some entertainment. My nephew, Stewart, dazzled us with some juggling.
The teenagers roamed in a herd observing their surrounding.
The younger set preferred a little street dancing to pass the time!
And some jump roping, too.
And the boy's resume setting fire to the spent fireworks. Apparently, you must take advantage of the one day a year that you can set fires (under adult supervision), and your mother will not smack you up the side of your head or ground you!
Sing Happy Birthday to the two birthday boys.
Serve birthday cake!
Then settle down to watch the big fireworks show from the comfort of your lawn chair, and reflect on how lucky you are to live in our great country, have the freedoms that we are blessed with, give thanks for our service men (and women) past and present who have risked or given their lives so that I can have those freedoms.
All in all it was a fabulous party and a great day. Only 364 days until it's time to do it all over, again!!!!!
Hope all of you had a great 4th of July, too!!!