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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
A relaxing backyard barbecue is the perfect way to celebrate the lazy days of summer. If you are the host of the event, thinking of all the planning involved may make you feel anything but relaxed. Fortunately, backyard barbecues are simple, casual events. You can pull off a stellar party with a few fun ideas.
At a backyard barbecue, food takes center stage. Whether you're grilling up steaks, chicken or hot dogs, the smell of a barbecue in progress is sure to get some mouths watering. Because of the outdoor location, barbecues come up against some unique problems. Heat and bugs are two of the biggest culprits. To keep your side dishes from baking in the sun and attracting bugs, Country Living suggests dividing your side dishes up into single servings ahead of time. Spoon each serving into a small jar and leave the closed containers out on a buffet table for guests to grab. You could even set the jars on ice to keep them cool in the meantime. This way, the sides will only be opened when it's time to eat them.
The decorations for your backyard barbecue can be both attractive and useful if you plan ahead. Use decorative clips or weights around the edges of the table to hold the tablecloth down. Set the drinks in decorative buckets or coolers. You can set a basket of essentials around the yard with sunscreen and bug spray for guests who need to touch up. For a fun party favor, place a small basket at each place setting with a fan, a can cozy and a fun swirly straw. The cozies and straws can act as drink markers and keep you from providing an endless supply of disposable cups and straws for everyone's beverages.
While the food will be the highlight of your barbecue, a few well-placed activities can keep guests entertained both before and after the main event. Simple backyard games such as croquet, horseshoes and badminton can keep guests entertained for hours. A basket of note cards with pre-approved ideas for a game of charades or a few tables with checkers or decks of cards can provide fun outdoor entertainment as well. If your barbecue coincides with a holiday such as the fourth of July, have a few sparklers on hand for the occasion.