Countdown to the Fourth of July | Midwest Living

Countdown to the Fourth of July

Our anticipation has us seeing red, white and blue. Try these 10 patriotic ideas to get into the Independence Day spirit.

1) Make the best burger ever
The Fourth of the July is the ideal time to show off your grill master skills. One of these 30 recipes will earn you bragging rights, guaranteed.

2) Bake a pie
There may be nothing more patriotic than apple pie, but no one will complain if you make a Citrus-Berry Tart or a Mixed Berry Slab Pie instead. Also a hit? Individual Fruit Hand Pies with cute star-shaped cut outs.

Fourth of July Desserts
Citrus-Berry Tart (left); Fruit Hand Pies (right)

3) Break out the red, white and blue
Festive lanterns look intricate, but our downloadable patterns will help you pull them off with ease. Plus, more than 30 decorating ideas to get you in the Fourth of July spirit.

4) Enjoy America’s pastime
Take yourself out to a ball game at one of these Midwest stadiums. Or, learn more about baseball at places like the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, which is filled with baseball trivia, interactive exhibits and artifacts.

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum

5) Take a moment and reflect
Visit a Midwest memorial or museum to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Then, get some inspiration from our collection of Independence Day photos sent to us by Midwest Living readers.

6) Set a patriotic table
Our two star-spangled tabletop ideas are deluxe enough to impress guests, but easy enough to throw together last minute.  That way, you can focus on a sweet breakfast with a little U.S. flair, like Cherry-Berry Shortcake Stars or Red, White and Blue Parfaits.

Fourth of July Tabletops
Two easy options for patriotic tabletop decor.

7) Make a beautiful centerpiece
Bouquets in red, white or blue (or all three) add a subtle-yet-celebratory touch to tabletops, windowsills and more. Non-floral décor, like pinwheels, add a fun twist. Learn how to arrange a fresh-cut bouquet with our step-by-step video.

8) Plan a potluck
Fourth of July barbecues are great… unless you get stuck making every dish yourself. Invite friends over for a potluck instead. Choose one of these All-American Potluck recipes, though, just to make sure your offering is the star.

9) Have an adults-only picnic
Of course, we know the Fourth of July is an important time for family. But you wouldn’t want a kid to accidentally eat one of these spiked popsicles, would you? (No babysitters available? No sweat. Try this Sparkling Berry Lemonade, and leave a pitcher un-spiked for the little ones.)

Popsicle and Drink
Boozy Bomb Pops (left); Sparkling Berry Lemonade (right)

10) Discover a cool celebration
The Midwest is filled with patriotic ways to celebrate. We love Yankee Doodle Pops, a Des Moines Symphony concert performed for Iowans picnicking on the lawn of the state capitol. (The 1812 Overture is the grand finale each year. Read: real cannons.) You also can’t go wrong with Independence Day at Mount Rushmore and Red, White & Boom, Ohio’s largest fireworks display.

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