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  Friday, October 24, 2014  
   
 

 
Beyond The Barbecue
ideas for unique summer soirees

The warm weather is here and the summer party season is just getting started. This year, don’t just throw another blasé barbecue or an average pool party for your friends and neighbors. Here are four ideas for unique summer soirees that will make a splash:

Backyard Movie Night
Host your own Backyard Movie Night with your favorite summer movies. Blend the fun and camaraderie of group movie watching with a hint of yesteryear’s drive-in theaters by renting a projector and screen that you can set up in your backyard. Or, for a really nostalgic flare, project onto a large white bed sheet or a wall rather than a rented screen.

Enhance the movie theme by serving theater fare such as bagged popcorn, soft drinks in paper cups, oversized candy, nachos and hot dogs. Remember, this theme is easily adaptable for any age group; if you’re hosting a group of kids, pop in a children’s classic. For adults, pick up the latest romantic comedy or action thriller.

Backyard Olympics
Play to sports fans with a backyard party that celebrates the upcoming Olympic Games. Adorn your back yard with torches in honor of the timeless Olympic symbol. Hang flags that represent participating countries from around
the world.

Serve guests ethnic fare that salutes the host country—China—as well as the countries from which your guests’ ancestors hail. Or, invite guests to bring a potluck dish representing their ethnic ancestry.
For entertainment, play backyard versions of popular summer Olympic games like relays (three-legged race), shot put (with Frisbees) or diving (see who can make the biggest splash in a kiddie pool).

Gardening Garden Party
Forget tea and finger sandwiches. This garden party gives guests the chance to get down and dirty—really. Plus, it’s an opportunity to spruce up your landscaping. Invite friends over and provide flowers, plants and gardening tools. Have everyone pitch in to place plants around your backyard. Stage competitions for the quickest planters or prettiest arrangement.

Serve fresh fruits and yogurt dip or crudités and sour cream. Whip up some fruit smoothies in the blender and serve refreshing sorbets.

Dog Days
Don’t sweat it when the “dog days of summer” arrive. Turn them into a chance for your friends and family to bond with their canine companions. Invite friends to your backyard to party with their pooches. Serve fare that appeals to both two-legged and four-legged guests, like burgers and grilled chicken. Have dog biscuits and canine treats on hand for
the hounds.

Set up games dogs love like fetch, Frisbee or an obstacle course. Position children’s pools around the yard so canine guests can cool off and humans can dip their toes.

With the right props, food and creativity, you can ensure your guests will have a blast and your sizzling summer soiree will be the talk of the town.