As the summer winds down and you lament the shorter days, plan a party to celebrate the end of the season and welcome the cozy comforts of long fall evenings just around the corner. Whether your bash is a backyard barbecue, poolside cocktail party or just a potluck dinner with friends and family, keep the summer themes strong and bold.
Summer is all about fun and relaxation, so your party should be casual and laid-back. Mix up the seating arrangements with comfortable wicker chairs and sofas with overstuffed cushions interspersed with beach chairs. Enhance the summer theme with beach umbrellas, inflatable beach balls and some white sand sprinkled on the patio or porch. Plan the party for late afternoon when the temperatures are dropping so guests are cool and happy. Choose foods easily prepared a day or two ahead of time so you can relax with your friends instead of being stuck in the kitchen during the celebration.
Decorate tables with fresh fruits, vegetables and cut wildflowers. Instead of conventional vases, hollow out green, yellow, orange and red bell peppers, whole pineapple shells or melon rind boats for the flowers. Create centerpieces from summer vegetables such as artichokes, carrots with wispy green tops intact and heads of purple cabbage. Use toothpicks to build multiple vegetable table decorations. If your crowd is full of fans of local summer sports teams, adorn tabletops with pennants and other sports memorabilia.
Build the menu around summer foods you won’t see until next year. Fresh corn on the cob, juicy beefsteak tomatoes and oversized bowls of mixed fresh greens and grilled fruit are all delicious menu choices. Pair them with traditional summer fare such as hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecue ribs or chicken. End the meal with strawberry shortcake, a sundae bar with fresh fruit toppings or banana splits.
Fruit-based drinks are perfect for end-of-summer parties. Fill a cooler with Starbucks Refreshers -- sparkling and energizing canned beverages in scrumptious flavors, like raspberries with pomegranate, strawberries with lemonade and orange with melon. Dress up the serving glasses with sprigs of fresh mint and add fresh raspberries, strawberries, lemon slices or orange wedges to elevate the presentation. For satisfying adult drinks, blend up a pitcher or two of mojitos, fruit-based daiquiris or pina coladas.
Throwing the perfect end-of-summer bash is simple and satisfying. You and your friends can rehash the past summer’s highlights and adventures while you plan escapades and outings for next year. What could be better than celebrating a great season with friends and family sharing food, beverages and fond memories?
Do you have a great idea for a great end-of summer bash that will be talked about for years to come? Share your experiences so others can host a perfect party.
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