For the last four years, we've hosted a beer tasting on the 4th of July. The first two years we taste-tested different cheap canned beers, but now we're moving into more specific themes. This year we're tasting Minnesota beers!
I've built up quite a few red, white and blue party decorations over the years. We use a few 36" red balloons, flag cupcake toppers and patriotic knick-knicks I pick up at the thrift store. Last year I made a cute paper globe garland a la this one from Sally Shim, but it only lasted a day before the intense humidity made all the balls droop. [Insert drooping-ball-joke-of-your-choice here.] It survived the party, though, which was all that mattered! I'm going to try to squish them back into shape, but I'm not optimistic.
I also made a bunch of these paper straw sparklers from Say Yes to Hoboken, which started out as centerpieces in vases until the kids discovered them. This weekend I'll probably make a few of these 3-D star decorations from Martha, but that might be the most of my craftiness this year.
For food, Aaron makes a ton of pulled pork, which we serve with buns, coleslaw and chips. Guests bring appetizers and sides to share. If the weather cooperates this year, I want to make a big s'mores spread for people to eat around the campfire, but I am also well aware that I cannot resist any occasion to make cupcakes so I'll probably do that, too.
Aaron also makes a boozy punch of some sort for folks who don't want to drink beer all night (whaaat?) (just kidding, that's me), and of course we have water and such available for nondrinkers/kids.
Speaking of kids—you might think that kids have no place at a beer tasting, but you would be wrong! We hosted our first tasting just a few months after Iris was born—she floated around the party in a red wagon most of the night, when she wasn't being passed from arm to arm. As she and her friends have grown up, sprinklers played a big role in the kiddo entertainment. And sparklers, of course!
And I always, always make sure the kiddos are decked out in their finest red, white and blue vintage outfits. Sailor suits are very popular!