Fourth of July parties are occasions to gather family and friends through a national celebration that is steeped in tradition. So, in the spirit of one of our country’s founding principles—democracy—throw a 4th of July potluck with a contest twist. This 4th of July party is a fun way to bring people together, have great food, and celebrate our country. Here’s how to throw an all-American recipe contest in a few easy steps:
Invitations: Start with an online invitation from Punchbowl and challenge your friends and family to bring their favorite American-style dishes (make sure they don’t forget the recipe!). Use Punchbowl’s potluck feature to coordinate who is bringing which food items. If enough people plan to bring the same kind, group them together to make different categories for the contest.
Decorations: 4th of July parties are not complete without patriotic spirit. For this 4th of July celebration, use one large table for all of the food. Put numbers next to different plates and encourage your guests to give their dishes fun titles—just make sure they stay anonymous! If you have enough dishes to categorize, group the similar food items together on smaller tables. No matter what you decide to do, add lots of red, white and blue table decor!
Judging: Make score cards for guests to keep track of their favorite dishes. Create different categories and write them on the cards, including a scale of 1-5. Have each guest fill one out while he or she is eating, then tally them up at the end. To keep things light-hearted, make a variety of fun and silly categories, like “Best Title,” “Most Creative Dish,” and “Best Presentation.” At the end of the party, announce the results—and don’t forget to have prizes on hand! These can be cookbooks, grilling gear, chef’s hats, or even homemade certificates.
The After Party: Just because the 4th of July party is over, doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! At the end of the party, collect recipes from everyone. Then, compile the Fourth of July party recipes and forward them to all of the guests. Include any memorable photos or videos you want to share from the 4th of July celebration.
Lastly, thank everyone for coming! This will be an unexpected touch that will get them excited about what could become an annual tradition.