The Fourth of July is around the corner, and if you haven’t thought about what to do, now would be the time! We have a few ideas that might be helpful. It’s true – anyone can throw a potluck. But with a little help from us, and your invitees, you can throw an unforgettable, stress-free Independence Day Bash.
Potluck planners, let your control-freak flag fly high! This one’s for you!
Set a Menu Theme
Before you do anything, get a menu or at least a menu theme in place. The Fourth of July normally inspires all-American, patriotic dishes, but don’t be afraid to get more specific and creative! Maybe you want your potluck to celebrate the 50 states and showcase of their specialties – lobster rolls from Maine, tacos from San Diego, and some Boston clam chowder. Or you can pump up the patriotism by serving only “Red, White, and Blue” dishes (think red, white, and blue Jello) or only “Stars and Stripes Specialties,” where each dish has stars or stripes (cupcakes with stars as sprinkles).
Employ Democracy and Delegation
These few words are not only the foundation of our nation, but they should also be the keys to any successful potluck. Putting a potluck together can be painless if you get people involved…and specify what’s needed. By giving guests more specific instructions, you can easily avoid the risk of having 13 untouched veggie platters. Assign roles now so you won’t have to lift a finger on the Fourth (or at least not too many fingers).
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communicating details to guests is crucial for success, and it’s a thin line between delegator and dictator. Create a message thread or Google Doc. to assign tasks and collaborate your guests’ input. Create sign-up spots for appetizers, beverages, side dishes, main courses, and desert. After guests sign up, they should provide a description of their dish. This prevents overlap and gives the taste buds a more cohesive experience. Talking with other guests and watching the party plans materialize on the shared document gets guests excited and committed to an epic potluck or picnic.
Scream for Ice Cream!
The holiday weekend’s weather forecast will sway whether you want to outsource dinner or dessert. Assuming it’s good weather, be a little different and get a dessert food truck to bring cool treats as a heat relief. Nothing says American summertime like a good ‘ol fashioned ice cream truck with kids chasing it from the neighborhood pool, but here’s a twist: Surprise guests with an Arnold Palmer Popsicle, Deep-Fried Ice Cream, Salty S’mores Ice Cream Sandwich, or Strawberry Balsamic Snowball. Your guests will never forget the time a food truck crashed their potluck.
Think Past the Food
Yes, when you think potluck, you think food, but you’ll be around friends and family, and people look for things to do. For example, beat the heat by asking a guest to bring a squirt gun station. It’s a simple, three-ingredient dish: one plastic tub, water, and a generous dose of squirt guns. These fun activities are zero calories, and will keep younger guests satisfied for hours. If the squirt gun station is the entrée, then the sparkler bar is dessert. Set out sparklers and matches for when the sun goes down, or have a few jars with glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets to add some color to the nighttime festivities.
Have fun, and Happy Fourth!
– Roaming Hunger