How was your Independence Day? Did you eat enough watermelon? Hot dogs? Burgers? Ice cream? Popsicles? Corn on the cob? Ever since my parents started an annual 4th of July bike parade on our street growing up, I've loved the holiday. (Props to Mom and Dad for getting the party started on our block!) It was a reason to decorate my bike in red, white and blue crepe paper....and eat about 10 freezer pops before noon, preferably of the pink lemonade flavor.
To celebrate the day, our neighborhood gathers at the local elementary school with their wagons, bikes, roller blades (remember those?!), and strollers all decked out in their finest patriotic decor. Then we march/roll/ride down to our house to tunes including the Star Spangled Banner and Stars and Stripes Forever. Up until a few years ago, my grandpa would lead the group with a big ol' American flag as our grand marshall, and knowing him, I'm pretty sure he probably marches around with an American flag on the 4th in heaven.
Once the parade route ends at our house, the bikes and wagons are parked and the eating begins. Along with the barbecued hot dogs, strawberry swirled ice cream cones are scooped and cups of lemonade are everywhere. Our neighbors bring tons of other red, white and blue treats and we all just soak up the summery atmosphere. Once everyone has found their way to the food tables, we gather around the flag and pledge allegiance loud and proud, and my mom brings out a patriotic birthday cake so we can sing happy birthday to America. It's a beautiful thing.
This year I wasn't in town for the big neighborhood shebang, but don't worry, we still let our 'Murican Pride shine. It's pretty much in the blood. I had keep the "let's sing happy birthday to America" tradition alive by making a flag-inspired fruit pizza! (See below.) It was the perfect sweet complement to our meal of grilled burgers and corn on the cob. In the evening, we headed to the park where we sat on blankets in the grass with the whole town. Cornhole tournaments, elephant ear stands and snow cone vendors lined the sidewalks as we waited for an beautiful fireworks show. It was the best. Seeing all the people outside enjoying something so simple and special makes me happy, and very thankful to be an American.
I hope your Fourth was full of fun, and that the weekend continues to be one of joy and gratitude for our country.