Whether you're organizing a neighborhood-wide Fourth of July parade or throwing a celebration for just a few friends, our fun and patriotic ideas will help you get started. Follow these eight simple steps to throw the perfect star-spangled Independence Day celebration for friends and family.
If your neighborhood doesn't already have a Fourth of July parade, organize your own! First, decide on a location; for smaller parades, an alley, driveway, yard, or stretch of sidewalk work well. For larger parades involving bikes and trucks, you may need to contact your city council to get permission to block off a street. Mark the starting and ending place of your parade using banners or flags, and always have a back-up plan in case of bad weather.
You can't have a parade without guests and participants! Invite the neighborhood to join your Fourth of July festivities, and spread the word to family and friends as well. Let the attendants know what to bring or how to help ahead of time. Remind your guests to dress in red, white, and blue and to bring lawn chairs to sit in for relaxed viewing. Hand out flags, leis, or hats as party favors.
Put together a float using a truck and flatbed, or make a smaller-scale display using a few bicycles and wagons. To make a lightweight American flag for your float, stuff red, white, and blue tissue paper into the holes of a rectangular piece of chicken wire fencing; attach the flag to the back of the trailer or wagon using wire. If you have a large float, hang streamers along the edges of the flatbed, and add hay bales for seating; have the riders of the float wave flags and throw out candy.
Help the kids make a banner, sign, or flag to hang on their floats or to hold while marching in the Fourth of July parade. Decorate a large piece of plywood or poster board with paint, stickers, markers, and glitter, or string a printable garland together. Stick to traditional patriotic designs, or make your signs and banners in support of local sports teams and organizations.
Invite the neighborhood kids to decorate their scooters, bicycles, or wagons for the parade. Provide streamers, balloons, ribbons, and bells, or instruct them to arrive predecorated. Look for inexpensive decor online or at party supply stores. Award the participants with the most creative or patriotic "vehicle."
Get the neighborhood pets involved: Invite guests to bring their furry friends to the Fourth of July parade. Tie bandannas around the pets' necks, and have their owners walk them along the parade path. Set out bowls of water along the parade route or by your seating so the pooches don't overheat!
One of the perks of having a small neighborhood parade is you don't have to transport refreshments very far. Whip up a few festive drinks to serve the crowd who gathers to watch the parade; a festive Fourth of July cocktail or non-alcoholic drink in red, white and blue is the perfect refreshment for a hot day.
Ask guests to bring an appetizer or dessert to share for after the Fourth of July parade, or prepare a small table of simple refreshments, like lemonade, iced tea, and cookies. Set the table in the spirit of the Fourth with a red, white, and blue tablecloth, streamers, and easy flag centerpieces.