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Planning The Perfect Summertime Get Together?

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - Ocean Spray offers these simple suggestions and tips for ways to enjoy Canada all summer long.

Getting Started

  • Themed backyard get-togethers are a perfect way to spend time outdoors with family and friends. Choosing a theme is as simple as drawing ideas from your local community calendar and letting your creativity run free.

  • The convenience of the Internet has made party planning so easy. Free online invitation sites, such as Evite, allow you to develop a guest list, send your invites and track RSVPs with a few clicks of the mouse

  • Paper invites are also a great way to bring your theme alive. For example, write details on a jazz sheet music for a jazz inspired celebration, on small maps from around the world for a multicultural theme or attach party information to a candy apple if you are hosting a pre or post-carnival get-together

  • Choose simple, no-hassle dishes that can be prepared in advance of your celebration and that can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer for a day or two until you're ready to party

Set The Scene

  • Festive decorations create the atmosphere and enhance the mood of your party.

  • Look for innovative ways to enhance the theme of the party. For example, play soothing jazz music and "rename" all your dishes after jazz musicians for a jazz festival inspired party, use little paper flags from countries around the world as picks for hors d'oeuvres if you are celebrating a multicultural event, or fold paper napkins into paper airplanes and anchor your picnic blanket with toy planes if you are enjoying the action in the skies at an airshow

  • Light up an evening party safely and inexpensively by placing votive candles in glass jars, weighted down with a few pebbles, along the walkway. The lighting will help guests find their way, and the jars will ensure that the candles aren't hazardous.
  • You can also fill pails with sand and insert tapered candles

  • Instead of a typical floral centrepiece, set large decorative basins or bird baths on the ground at each end of the table. Fill with water and float roses, gardenias or peonies

  • Set-up an open bar and let your guests serve themselves. Fill galvanized pails with ice for drinks and set out cocktail glasses and festive garnishes for the final touch

Festive Finishes

  • These fun finishes will make your party memorable and leave you with enough time to enjoy.

  • Freeze cranberries, raspberries or mint leaves in ice cubes and add to the punch bowl

  • For a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail, add sparkling soda to an Ocean Spray® Cranberry Cocktail or White Cranberry Cocktail, serve in fun patio glasses and float a few frozen cranberries in the glass for a
  • special finish

  • Provide your guests with small disposable cameras to capture the event and have a computer savvy friend help you set up a post-party website with photos and party stories to keep the memories alive

Little Extras

  • Don't let it rain on your party! Tall beach umbrellas not only provide a little shade from the sun, but also serve as protection from a summer shower

  • Burn decorative citronella patio torches to keep bugs away and cover food to keep the bugs out

  • Find a collection of small smooth stones to use as weights for napkins and paper plates on an outdoor table to avoid having the wind blow everything into your neighbour's yard

  • Everyone knows the best food is eaten with your fingers! If serving sticky finger foods such as ribs, chicken or corn on the cob, set out a tray with pre-packaged damp towlettes



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