Revelers across the nation are preparing to celebrate their independence with family and friends. For many Americans, backyard barbecues are synonymous with the Fourth of July, which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

Hosting a July 4th barbecue for the first time may have some hosts anxious about throwing an event to remember, but fun is sure to be had if hosts remember the following.

Food

Though hot dogs and hamburgers won't be mistaken for gourmet fare anytime soon, Fourth of July revelers often embrace the tradition of grilling these up and chowing down even if they tend to avoid such foods the rest of the year. Hosts should not feel pressured to provide gourmet fare on July 4th, but it is a thoughtful gesture to ask guests in advance if they have any food allergies or need to avoid certain foods for other reasons.

Beverages

Be sure to stock up on a variety of beverages so guests are not forced to consume drinks they don't want. Be sure to have plenty of water available to guests, and provide sodas, iced tea and lemonade as well. Offer alcoholic beverages to adult guests, but don't go overboard stocking up on alcohol, as that might encourage guests to overindulge.

Games

Backyard barbecues are most fun when guests are entertained, so plan to have some games available for guests of all ages. Encourage guests to bring a change of clothes or swimsuits if games will involve water or something that might soil their clothing. If you have a pool, purchase some pool games so swimmers can do more than just wade in the water or take a few laps. Plan a Wiffle ball game for kids and dig some horseshoe pits or buy a ring toss set so adults can engage in some friendly competition as well.

Safety

Though no one wants to think of a 4th of July celebration taking a turn for the worst, hosts must prepare for emergencies. Restock the first-aid kit if necessary and keep a constant eye on guests, especially children, to ensure everyone is having a safe and happy time. Be prepared to summon transportation should any guests have too much to drink. Consider abstaining from alcohol, or at least drink very conservatively so you're prepared to respond if an emergency should arise.

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