Ideas for the Party Human

Patriotism for Posterity

Posted on: June 17, 2010

THEME:  Independence Day (4th of July), preserving history

INVITATIONS:  One idea is to take a miniature flag, place the message written on a small, folded piece of paper in the middle of the flag and fold it in the traditional triangular form.  It can then be mailed in an envelope or hand-delivered.  The guest will unfold the flag and see the message. 

            In the message, be sure to ask guests to bring swimsuits and towels, as well as an item to place in the time capsule, to be preserved for future citizens to discover.  This can be anything they deem significant to their lives and the times.  You may also wish to ask guests to bring food items for the barbecue.  This party will work well for families, teens or adults.

MATERIALS FOR ACTIVITIES:  Mock “Declaration of Independence” guest register and feather-quill pen, if desired; swimming pool or lake; necessary equipment for playing desired water games, such as beach balls, inner tubes, net, trinkets for diving, etc.; barbecue grill; picnic table(s), benches, etc.; paper and pens; time capsule (This must be a sturdy, watertight container that will resist decay, such as the plastic containers used for wheat or other food storage.); simple fireworks, if allowed by area law.

FOOD:  Old-fashioned picnic “vittles” are the rule.  You may ask guests to bring their own meat for barbecuing, or some other items, but a very American menu might be something like this:  Hamburgers, hot dogs or steaks, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, baked beans, chips or crackers, watermelon and root beer.  For dessert, homemade ice cream is a must, and you might serve it alongside  a cake decorated like a flag.  Beside each plate, you might also have little nut-cups filled with red, white and blue cream mints.

DECORATIONS:  Of course, red, white and blue will be the color scheme.  Since this is outdoors, you will need to rely on your landscaping, etc. to help hold up decorations.  Streamers, balloons and flags may be hung from trees, shrubs and around the deck.  Use appropriate colors of paper plates, cups, napkins and tablecloth(s).  A basket containing an arrangement of red, white and blue carnations with a small flag standing in the middle might make a nice centerpiece for the picnic table.  Have buckets of citronella to keep the bugs away, if your area has need of such precautions.

BLOW-BY-BLOW:  When guests arrive, they give their items for the time capsule to you, the hostess, and you may ask them to sign a mock “Declaration of Independence” for a guest register.  The fun starts with swimming.  Plan several water games, if the guests are interested. 

            When the swimmers are tired out, fire up the grill, and let the good old-fashioned barbecue begin.  As guests finish eating, give each one paper and pencil to use in penning some thoughts to include in the time capsule.  When everyone is done, they may share their writings with each other if they so desire, before placing them in a watertight bag or box to go in the time capsule.  When all items are in the time capsule, it is sealed and placed in a previously-dug hole.  A date is agreed upon for digging up the time capsule, and everyone helps to bury it. 

            If time permits, there may be some more swimming before dessert.  After the cake and ice cream, a musician in the group accompanies a sing-along of patriotic songs on the guitar, piano, keyboard, harmonica or whatever.  As a finale to the evening, the guests clear a space of dirt, cement or gravel for the lighting of fireworks.  (If private fireworks are illegal in your area, you might take everyone to the fairgrounds [or wherever] to watch the public fireworks display.)

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