Don’t waste those long, warm-weather weekends stretched out on the couch watching reruns of Friends – spend the weekend with actual friends instead! Treasured holidays should be spent with the people you love.
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What a perfect time to gather friends and remember the defenders of freedom – the American soldier! Whether your group is quietly or vocally patriotic, land-locked or beachside, you can plan meaningful activities that will excite everyone. Customize these eight Memorial Day suggestions to suit your particular group.
Host a backyard movie weekend. Tap into the nostalgic feel of a drive-in movie by hosting a backyard movie party. Plan an exciting cinema lineup; include a patriotic feature like “Saving Private Ryan” or “A Few Good Men.” Create a list of films and set the stage for a backyard movie marathon. Buy or rent a movie projector, hang a plain white sheet and pop the popcorn! Ask friends to bring their chairs and adult beverages of choice for a movie night under the stars.
Display fireworks by the water. If your area allows it, arrange a fireworks show by a nearby pond, lake or beach. Fireworks reflected on the water will make everyone proud to be an American! To help offset the cost of a colorful display, ask participants to chip in. Watching fireworks by the water gives a beautiful view of fireworks – twice! Sparklers are a nice alternative if fireworks aren’t allowed.
Arrange a parade party. Search the newspaper for information about local Memorial Day parade routes and times. Plan a parade party. Many parade routes offer RV parking for people who are willing to rent them. Reserve a spot and bring your camper or truck. Before the parade, serve up some saucy barbecue and head out to see the parade together. Don’t forget your red, white and blue accessories!
Host an outdoor games tournament. Get ready for fun with friends by offering a variety of outdoor games like horseshoes, ladder ball, ping pong or badminton. Expecting a lot of children? Rent a bounce house or purchase a trampoline. Revive some old favorites like volleyball or tether ball for teens.
Enjoy a succulent shrimp boil. Having plenty of food on hand is a hallmark of American parties. Celebrate this Memorial Day with a shrimp boil. You’ll need a large outdoor boiling pot, shrimp, potatoes and corn for this American favorite. Cover a picnic table with garbage bags and dump strained, cooked shrimp on top. If you prefer, boil crawfish instead. Kids love chasing the ones that get away. Be cautious though – they do pinch!
Have a jam session. Ask a musical friend to entertain your Memorial Day gathering with a few patriotic songs. If you have more than one friend, ask them to take turns leading the group with some old favorites like “Born in the USA” or “God Bless the USA.”
Get the crafters together. Take a trip to the home improvement store or scan your favorite magazines for patriotic craft ideas. Beginning crafters will enjoy painting a pre-assembled wooden birdhouse. For seasoned crafters, make red, white and blue tulle wreaths or a set of ceramic coasters.
Volunteer to serve veterans. Are your friends community-minded? If the answer is a big “Yes!” then consider spending some of your shared weekend serving veterans. Delivering a special meal to a local nursing home or placing flags on veterans’ grave markers makes a good commemoration. Contact local veterans’ organizations to see the needs of your community. Have a veteran in your immediate circle of friends? Pool together to purchase a “thank you for your service” gift.