Labor Day weekend typically marks the unofficial end of summer. This three-day weekend gives people one last opportunity to relax and have some fun before busy fall schedules kick into high gear. A great way to close out the season this Labor Day is with a back yard barbecue. Here are some tips to help you host the perfect get-together this holiday weekend.
Tidy yard and clean grill
Walk around your yard and clean up toys, debris or other things that need to be put away. Give your grill a thorough cleaning so lingering smells and residue do not affect your Labor Day meal. Starting with a clean yard and grill will give your barbecue a stress-free start.
Make sure to provide shade and seating
Labor Day weekend is traditionally warm and sunny, so make sure to provide adequate shade by setting up canopies, tents or table umbrellas around the yard. Make sure to offer a variety of seating options in shaded areas. You may consider laying out a few blankets under big trees as well.
Plan menu and prepare in advance
Plan your menu in advance and shop several days before so you will avoid crowds shopping for the holiday weekend. Include menu items that are easy to eat with one hand like skewered appetizers, meats, fruit and vegetables. Skewering them will also make for easier grilling. Place containers or platters of ice beneath foods that require refrigeration and make sure all foods have a covering to keep bugs from feasting. Make sure you have plenty of coolers with ice or ice packs to store extra food to replenish the serving table.
Prepare a signature drink
To make your gathering extra special, create a signature cocktail or mocktail to serve. Search online for refreshing, creative drink recipes to make for guests. Here is a link to recipes that would be tasty with or without alcohol -- https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g3355/memorial-day-cocktails/. Set up a drink station for the signature drink, but also provide bottled water and soft drinks, tea and/or lemonade.
Create a pleasant ambiance
A pleasant ambiance can make a positive impact on your guests’ barbecue experience. Add special touches by stringing lights around your patio or deck area and setting up a few torches. Light citronella candles and place them around to keep the bugs away. Place small vases with flowers on tables, the deck edge and patio walls. Consider making arrangements with chrysanthemums, lavender, petunias or marigolds as they are plants that deter mosquitos.
Do not forget music and games
A party is not complete without good music and games. Play some fun tunes through a Bluetooth-enabled speaker. Set up games like corn hole, horseshoes, croquet, bocce ball, badminton, and ladder ball. Have sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and balls for younger children to enjoy.
Follow these tips and your Labor Day barbecue is sure to be a grand success and the perfect way to say farewell to the summer season!