Summer’s Last Hurrah!

September 8th, 2015 Country Kitchen

Summer is fast coming to a close, and for most Americans this means the start of school, longer nights and cooler weather.

If you’re someone who values the warmer months more than the cooler seasons, this can be a bittersweet time of year.

But rather than despairing about the end of summer, celebrate the time you have left!

Here are some ideas you can use when throwing a party to say goodbye to summer.

Outdoor Buffet and Bar

Set Up an Outdoor Buffet and Bar

You’re celebrating the end of warmer weather, so why not eat outdoors?

Set up self-service buffet stations around your yard, with dishes you can prepare ahead of time in your country kitchen.

Chilled soups, antipasto platters, and salads are especially refreshing and portable making them perfect for a buffet table. You can add a hot dish into the mix by firing up the grill.

For dessert, think cool: set up a sundae bar or make shakes or smoothies.

Don’t just stop at serving food outdoors. Make your drinks station self-serve as well, whether you’re offering up soda, beer, wine or cocktails.

Serve cocktails, lemonade and ice tea using our glassware.

You can get creative when setting up an outdoor bar: fill an old wheelbarrow with ice to turn it into a cooler, or build your own bar out of a wooden bench.


Light a Campfire

If you are planning to have your party go into the night, consider setting up a campfire in your backyard.

If guests are still hungry after dinner, let them roast some hot dogs or toast some marshmallows. And remember: safety first. Be sure to build your fire in an open space, and have water on hand to put it out.

Looking for more end-of-summer party ideas? Here are a few suggestions, courtesy of HGTV, Martha Stewart and Country Living:

  • Hanging a piñata can be fun for kids and adults alike. Take a swing and let the candy – or other little prizes – flow.
  • Make your beverages even more refreshing by adding some fruit to your ice cubes. It’s easy: just fill an ice cube tray with water, then drop in berries or slices of oranges, lemons or limes.
  • For parties happening after dark, consider hosting a movie night. Connect your laptop to a projector, and show some classic summer movies on a screen or an outdoor wall.
  • Light up your backyard after the sun goes down by creating makeshift lamps using old mason jars and votive candles. Put them around your pool or along a sidewalk to add a sophisticated feel.
  • Another lighting option: hang some Christmas lights, but slide paper muffin cups over the bulbs to create the look of an illuminated flowering vine.
  • Decorate your tables with some DIY floral arrangements: retro soda bottles filled with a few seasonal wildflowers or fresh herbs.
  • Pies, cupcakes and other pastries are fine for the dessert section of your buffet, by why not popcorn? Fill some apothecary jars with a variety of flavors, and let your guests choose between salty and sweet.
  • Are you cooking on a charcoal grill? Instead of marinating your meats in rosemary, put the herb directly on your coals after they’ve gotten grey and ashy. The smoke will enhance the flavor the same way wood chips do.
  • Let bugs know they’re not invited. Slices of lemon topped with cloves is a natural insect repellant. You can also offer guests a relief station with bug spray and cool wet towels, or even make fans if you’re feeling especially industrious.
  • Help guests at your buffet by punching a hole at the edge of your disposable plates, then attaching utensils with a loop of twine.
  • Instead of watering down your drink with ice cubes, keep your entire bowl of punch/ice tea cool by placing it inside its own ice bucket.
  • Does your neighborhood have a community garden? Celebrate its success by hosting a potluck where everyone brings seasonal dishes using food they’ve grown during the summer.

Fall blends into winter, winter slowly grows into spring, and then spring becomes summer, the only season we’re sad to see go. We hope you can use some of these ideas to celebrate its end in style, or to celebrate summers yet to come.