We had another year of fantastic Fireworks & Fun for the Fourth of July! The parking shuttle service was used for the first time ever, and 24 of us enjoyed a warm afternoon but a chilly evening with barbecue, snow cones, several salads, a new Fresh Watermelon Keg, Sparkling Sugar Star cookies, my traditional homemade vanilla custard ice cream, and new Star Spangled S’mores! Thanks again to the City of Santa Clara for the stunning show!
This year I paced myself much better by decorating and only making one or two food items each night, so during my weekend before the Monday holiday, I had time for Margarita Friday with friends, a patriotic pedicure, and even a Sunday evening hike! Little did I know that was an even better plan than I knew, since I woke up 5am party day miserable with suspected food poisoning…ugh! I called my mom to ask for any tips getting through it and if there was any chance I might feel better by evening, then my dad insisted she drive the 3 hours to come help me. Thank you very much, Mom! I didn’t touch any food all day, party or otherwise, carefully sipping Gatorade & ginger ale to stay hydrated with electrolytes and sugar calories, and my mom set out all the party food and disinfected doorknobs and surfaces just in case I was contagious. I had to take several breaks to lie down, but thankfully all the guests had a great time as usual. My mom had been pondering coming to see “my” fireworks one of these years, and she was really impressed how close they were and such a perfect view from my yard! She was even taking photos to post on Facebook…haha!
Since I had made 50 special s’mores with homemade marshmallows for 50 Years of Star Trek movie night the week before, but not many were eaten, I found a metal star cutter that fit just inside all the Trek chevrons to cut star marshmallows. While the edges were sticky, I dipped them into a mix of red and blue pearlized sugar, then used normal Hershey bar squares and the same graham crackers as the Trek s’mores. I had these all assembled and covered on the big baking sheet so all that was needed on party day was to arrange them on the big silver platter. Robin did a great job!
The fresh watermelon keg was new this year since Robin had seen it online & really wanted to try it. I was able to get the tap kit from Amazon in time, but Tracia scooped the watermelon to be the keg, and my mom & Kian turned the extra watermelons into juice, plus Ben brought more he had juiced at home. I heard it was refilled three times during the party, so it was definitely a hit! I immediately froze the extra watermelon juice since I think another watermelon keg will appear before this summer is over.
No one made Razzle Dazzle Tinis this year since I usually lead by showing everyone how to make them, and I quickly erased the Corndog Sparklers from the menu chalkboard since those were scheduled to be made the morning of the party and didn’t happen. My first guests are always kind enough to help finish setting food out, and all the help was really appreciated this year since I couldn’t touch anything! In addition to the s’mores, Robin also arranged the Sparkling Sugar Stars, Kian helped using the stick blender to pummel the watermelon juice into submission, Rob & Bethani set out all the new patriotic fans I got in case it was too hot, and Tracia finished arranging my new little red, blue & white LED star lights on the tables, then I could take photos!
The outer patio table with the bunting was for more guest food, the Sparkling Sugar Star cookies, and grilled items. Ben’s Chocolate Frosted Banana Cupcakes were tasty on their tier tower! Since that table was also already getting too full, we decided the kitchen dining table would be for desserts like Rob’s famous cheesecake, Sheila’s patriotic coconut cake, Nathania’s Oatmeal Fudge Bars, and Jerry’s Cherry Tart.
Here is the full menu of what I provided for Fireworks & Fun 2016:
Razzle Dazzle Tinis
Fresh Watermelon Keg
Make Your Own Snow Cone
Patriotic Pastry Brie with Smorgabritta Spiced Loquat Preserves
Aged Manchego Slices with Smorgabritta Quince Preserves
Four Bean Salad
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
Apricot Cashew Quinoa Salad
Old Glory Green Salad
Festive Fruit Salad
Sparkling Sugar Stars
Star Spangled S’mores
Homemade Old Fashioned Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
Ellie is a master snow cone maker from all her practice during several summer seasons now, so she showed Elias how it was done, then they kept walking around asking everyone if they would like a snow cone…what excellent service! I wonder if their arms were sore the next day from all that manual ice grinding? I even had a couple plain ice snow cones myself. It was the only crunch I had all day and it tasted so good!
We got out Rock Band while the sun was going down, but we didn’t turn everything on until the sun was completely off the screen, about an hour before the fireworks started. At 9:15 my mom dished up my homemade ice cream, this year on the outer patio table – why had I never done that before? We brought the fruit salad out and arranged with the star cookies as a little sundae bar. With only 24 people this year, there is even more ice cream left over. At least I knew it tasted as good as usual since I licked the spoon on Friday night after I made it!
The fireworks were over by 10pm, but traffic is a total gridlock all around my neighborhood for at least an hour, so some played Rock Band, while at least a couple others tried melting some Star Spangled S’mores over my new gas firepit. It sure was easier to light the gas firepit AND turn off, but I’m not sure if it gives as nice of a char flavor on the marshmallows? Kevin and Ellie seemed to enjoy them for sure!
There were plenty of fun things I missed but at least I took a few photos of partying people, and even attempted a quick selfie in hopes of showing my red streak in my twisted hair and my LED star necklace.
I was able to put out a few flags, the paper lanterns, and my front door wreath the morning of the party, and I had decorated inside in advance, but totally forgot to take photos inside this year. A few more decor photos are in the full gallery below.
You can see the full photo gallery with all the partying people by clicking the link below. Huge thanks to everyone who helped and had fun, especially my mom who went above and beyond the call of duty! Hope Santa Clara keeps having annual fireworks so I can keep having my Fireworks & Fun party!