Summer Entertaining Guide:  9 Ideas For A Festive & Fun Fourth Of July Summer Party

Summer Entertaining Guide: 9 Ideas For A Festive & Fun Fourth Of July Summer Party

11 minute read

9 great tips for a backyard summer party to celebrate the Fourth Of July:

*Create A Chill Zone

*Satisfy Nibblers With Grazing Boards

*Choose Fresh, Local Fruit

*Go Wild With Watermelon

*Line Up The Good Tunes


The Fourth of July is just around the corner. Lockdowns appear to be over. Social distancing is slowly becoming a thing of the past. And it’s summertime! We have many reasons to celebrate right now: a return to normal life, reunions with family and friends, and America’s birthday! A summer party is a great way to express our gratitude and have some fun in the sun too with all the people we’ve been missing for many months.

If you’re not brimming with summer dinner party ideas, don’t worry. Not everyone who loves to party is great at planning them. Spontaneous backyard get-togethers are easy, but if you want to throw a proper Fourth of July party in your backyard, celebrate someone’s birthday, or just kick-off the summer in festive fashion, plan a summer party! 

We’ve got some great ideas right here in this guide to kick things up a notch . Snack bars, barbecues, cocktails, peach pie, and good tunes drive up the summer vibe. Pitch some patio lanterns on your lawn or hang strings of fairy lights to add ambience. Throw in some festive napkins, decorations, and more. 

Take a look at the table of contents below and hop over to a specific section if it grabs your interest. Or, read the whole guide from start to finish in about 12 minutes.


Create A Chill Zone

Satisfy Nibblers With Grazing Boards

Serve Up Fresh, Local Fruit

Go Wild With Watermelon

Line Up The Good Tunes

Get Punchy With Sangria & Cocktails

Keep The Kids Happy

Offer A Burger Bar

Scream For An Ice Cream Sundae Station

Feel free to share this guide with friends and family, or keep it a secret and let them think the ideas are all yours (we won’t mind, and we won’t tell!).

9 Summer Party Ideas To Kick Off The Season

#1 Create A Chill Zone

You’re pumped to finally host a summer party after all this distance from family and friends. But chances are you’re not thrilled about the heat, especially if your backyard is skimpy on shady areas. There are plenty of ways to keep everyone cool without having to go indoors or squash your tables into one patch of shade. 

Keep those chilled non-alcoholic drinks well stocked. Coconut water is an instant refresher and loaded with naturally-occurring electrolytes, and it has a slightly sweet taste to satisfy the tongue. Fill a couple pitchers with iced water and plenty of lemon and cucumber slices. Punches made with fresh, seasonal berries and sparkling water or club soda make everyone happy too. 

Serve frozen desserts, such as ice cream pie, ice cream sundaes, or even slushies for the kids. There are tons of quick and easy recipes online for frozen berry compotes, homemade popsicles, and even ice cream waffles. 

Add something memorable that also offers a little relief from the heat. Handheld paper fans or wide-brim sun hats are a dime a dozen at those everything for a dollar shops, and they give your guests a pleasant surprise and party favor. 

#2 Satisfy Nibblers With Grazing Boards

These are made for the cattle habits in all of us! We all love to nibble, and small finger snacks are an especially good icebreaker in social groups when people are meeting each other for the first time––nibbles are a great way to keep hands and mouths busy if you’re stuck on words or paired up with someone who loves to talk! 

To get the most out of your grazing boards, stick to foods that are non-perishable. Things like olives, crackers, grapes, pickles, potato chips, popcorn, and nuts are great choices. You can even create different collections on each board. For example, chips, dips, and popcorn on one. Nuts and olives on another. Crackers and pickles. Grapes and other tidy fruits. Veggie boards too. Keep perishable foods like cheese plates small, in the shade, and easy to refill. We warn against any mayo-based dips, especially if the weather is hot.

#3 Serve Up Fresh, Local Fruit

This is the time of year for sweet, juicy, sun-ripened fruits grown locally. Not only are you supporting local farmers and sustainable agriculture when you buy locally-grown produce, you’re also offering your guests wholesome food––a sign of love and appreciation indeed!

This time of year, berries are plump and succulent, and they’re not just for desserts. Make berry chutney to pair with cheese and crackers. Toss a few strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries into a pitcher of sangria or place them on offer at the cocktail bar. Make snack-size smoothie bowls from fresh berries. Garnish serving platters with them. The possibilities are endless!

Peaches are in their prime, and no Fourth of July party is complete without a peach pie. Other peach-based desserts include peach compote, peach tarts, and peach pudding––why not?! You can also grill them on the barbecue, wrap them in pork, or add some peach chutney to the cheese platter. Check out these fantastic ideas from Food & Wine on how to use peaches for your summer party dinner menu. 

#4 Go Wild With Watermelon

Your farmer’s market is bursting with a veritable buffet of fresh, locally-grown produce this time of year. Perhaps one of the more tantalizing options is watermelon. Everyone loves it. It’s sweet, refreshing, juicy, and easy to slice and serve. But there’s so much more you can do with this favorite seasonal fruit than just cut it into wedges. Watermelon salsa is an easy, delicious, and unique way to enjoy this favorite fruit. Check out the recipe below:

summer watermelon salsa

Spicy Watermelon Salsa

4 cups seedless watermelon, diced

Half a medium-sized red onion, diced

⅔ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1–2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & finely diced 

1 lime, zest & juice

Combine ingredients and serve immediately with salty tortilla chips or crackers.

Another fantastic way to serve watermelon is with white rum or vodka––really! Chop a whole watermelon into bite-sized chunks and put into a serving platter that has sides or a glass baking dish. Pour white rum, vodka, or even champagne over top and allow it to sit for at least half an hour before serving. Make sure the kids don’t have access to this one!

#5 Line Up The Good Tunes

There’s no such thing as a party without music! Spotify has gazillions of playlists sure to satisfy even the most picky listener. Choose your vibe from the list below. Simply enter those keywords into the Spotify search field or come up with other search terms, and hit play. Make sure you leave some open space in your backyard for those who like to shake some bootie, or perhaps, enjoy a few too much sangria and like to get their groove on!

Summer Party Spotify Playlists

  • Summer Acoustic

  • Poolside Disco

  • Summer Party

  • Summer Throwbacks

  • Country Gold

  • Beach Party

  • Dinner With Friends

  • Have a Great Day

#6 Get Punchy With Sangria & Cocktails

The kids have their ice cream sundae station (see below), we’ve got the cocktail bar! Certainly not the only delicious thing to come out of Spain, Sangria goes down fresh and happy with everyone. Mix it up with either red or white wine, or perhaps offer both! Serve it up in a big punch bowl and garnish with fresh berries, lemon slices, and mint leaves. Traditional sangria uses brandy (who knew?!) but can be substituted for rum. It also calls for a dry Spanish red wine, orange juice, brown sugar, and an apple. There are loads of recipes online to choose from.

Of course, Sangria is not the only punch-like boozy beverage on offer. Cocktails come in many tastes––and sizes! Include a rum punch with dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, lime, grenadine, and garnish with a maraschino cherry. Long Island iced tea is a crowd favorite too, though be careful––it packs a punch!

#7 Keep The Kids Happy 

Every parent and teacher knows that bubble wands and soapy water keep even the most hyper child happy and focused for a good stretch of time. Bubble water is simple and quick to make. Just squirt a little hypo-allergenic dish soap into some water. Add food coloring and sparkles to make it even more attractive to the little ones, and ensure there are enough bubble wands for every one.

Another way to keep the kids entertained and out of trouble is with Fourth of July crafts for kids. Set up a table in the shade and add a variety of art supplies, such as crayons, markers, different colored paper, popsicle sticks and glue, sparkles, and stickers. Your recycling bin offers a great variety of open-ended craft supplies too, so be sure to add rinsed-out cartons, cardboard, and plastic bottles. It’s amazing what fertile little minds can create! Alternatively, if you want to stay away from glue, get a variety of beads and string so the kids can make necklaces. Bear in mind this activity isn’t suitable or safe for children under the age of three. 

#8 Offer A Burger Bar

If you want to keep things simple and traditional, barbecued burgers are your best bet. However, not everyone eats meat, so this is a great occasion to offer up a variety of burger options. Besides the usual meat burger, some ideas include a beetroot burger, mushroom burger, fish burger, or even a chickpea burger. You’ll find tons of ideas with a quick search online.

Perhaps as important as the patty is what goes on top! Here the options are endless. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, and relish top the charts, as do sliced tomato, onion, lettuce, and pickle. But c’mon––let’s add some wilder fare here, shall we? Smashed avocado, pineapple slices, deep-fried onion rings, peach chutney, microgreens. What else can you think of?

#9 Scream For An Ice Cream Sundae Station

This is sure to make the kids happy. Even the adult kids at heart love a good ice cream sundae station! Offer up traditional chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, then go wild with toppings. Include chocolate and butterscotch sauces, broken cookie bits, M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanuts, marshmallows, cake sprinkles, and more! If you’re starved for ideas here, just ask your kids or your nieces and nephews for some ideas. Ensure you keep a stack of plastic bowls handy, or a tower of ice cream cones.

Those sundaes wouldn’t be complete without a fun little paper umbrella or Fourth of July decoration on top. Perhaps that kids craft station could include making Star Spangled Banners!

Kick Back & Enjoy The Best Time Of Year…

Whether or not summer is your favorite season, few people complain about long sunny days, nature in full bloom, and the option to sit outside until 10 pm in a t-shirt and shorts. Indeed, summer puts most of us in a good mood, especially this year with life beginning to return to normal. 

Now is a great time to entertain, and a summer party is a fantastic way to bring everyone together and reconnect with family and friends. Use the tips in this guide to throw a fun and festive bash to celebrate everything that is important to you and your family. We do recommend, however, that you follow your local laws regarding group sizes and social distancing. 

We hope you enjoyed this free guide from Priority Chef. If you have questions, comments, or other feedback, please feel free to contact us, or sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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