Grabbing a picnic cooler and tossing our portable sports chairs in the back of the pickup truck, we headed towards my boyfriend's Uncle's home to celebrate the 4th of July weekend. Driving past Kentucky's beautiful Rough River Dam State Park, we enviously checked out all of the people out on their boats and on the shore enjoying the cool water and sunshine. Before long we pulled off the main road and drove over the crest of a hill to see two groups of men playing putt-putt golf along the drive up to a gorgeous two-story home. After parking next to a garden of corn and other home-grown vegetables, we headed towards the group of women sitting in the shade and playing Cornhole (bean bag toss).
All-American Outdoor Games
With a lot of people spending time together and enjoying the long weekend, entertainment is a must! The 4th of July is all about All-American Outdoor Games and Activities that keep everyone occupied and having fun throughout the festivities. Our 4th of July family outing included 3 sets of Cornhole and our own 7 hole mini putt-putt golf course, or "cow-pasture golf" as I later found out, to play throughout the afternoon. Split into teams by drawing and pairing numbers, nearly 30 people were entertained as we all played to win first place. Nearly 20 different varieties of portable chairs, two bench swings, and several picnic tables were set out in a large circle for both the players and non-players.
Slipping away in between games to indulge in fresh green beans, fried tenderloin, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese and other home-made dishes, we ate our fill and then ate some more! Desserts like cherry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream made losing a round of games well worth it, just so you could sit in the shade and eat while laughing and chatting with everyone else around. When you're repeatedly partnered with people you don't know, you start to relax and establish bonds a lot easier while you're playing some fun Outdoor Games. It also helps if you end up winning; but, not being overly competitive and just having fun and getting to know people is what it's all about.
Playing Rook and Riding 4 Wheelers
The sun didn't set until after 9pm, so the fireworks were put on hold until nearly two dozen people had gotten their fix of playing Rook. I'd never heard of the card game until a few months ago. My boyfriend's entire extended family are all pros because they play every week. Rook is a great game for friends and families of 4 or more to play because it is a multi-player partner game. With four tables set up and three rounds until the final winner's bracket, the games lasted about 2 hours until my boyfriend's awesome 86-year old Grandmother and one of his uncles beat everyone else and took 1st place!
After getting knocked out of Rook, we took an evening ride on a 4 wheeler through the trails in the woods and tried getting some air off a little hill in the field. Holding on tight and squealing like a little girl as we got a few inches off the ground has never been more exhilarating! It was even more fun to watch a 3 year old and his 9 year old sister take off on the 4 wheeler, laughing and hollering while their Grandmother safely sped them through the field flickering with lightning bugs.
Ablaze with Bonfires and Explosives
Dusk finally came upon us, and after building up a bonfire for hotdogs and s'mores and giving out plastic jars for the kids to go collect the glowing lightning bugs, we all set up our portable chairs along the edge of the field to watch a few brave men set off a gorgeous fireworks display. I should have handed out copies of 4th of July Checklist and Safety Tips, because the first explosive was too close for comfort as it exploded just above the ground. After moving back the wooden boards and firework holders further down the field, the inspiring fireworks dazzled us - exploding brilliant colors and intricate designs right before our eyes! It would have been a great idea to leave everyone a copy of 4th of July Myths, Fun Facts & Traditions so they could learn something they probably didn't know about our Independence Day, and shared it with others at future 4th of July celebrations!