It’s a long day. It’s a hot day. It’s the same party every year. But it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve gathered tips, recipes and secrets from Lodi’s summertime experts to make this Independence Day worth the hype.
Oh, and wear some sunscreen. Nothing is fun with a sunburn.
Stake out the best view
You’ve got lawn chairs and a picnic blanket, ready to take in the annual fireworks show over Lodi Lake. But that’s a lot of real estate. Where is the best spot?
The beach, says Jennifer Winn, coordinator for the yearly festival, or the east bank of the lake, on a grassy hill right off the beach. Show up early to claim your seat.
Find a fresh drink to sip
A cold beer is great, but Independence Day calls for a party in a glass. Enter: peach white wine sangria.
1 bottle of white wine
1⁄2 cup peach schnapps
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup sugar
2 sliced peaches (frozen peach slices work well)
1 sliced orange
1⁄2 mango peeled and sliced
1⁄2 liter of ginger ale
Pour wine and schnapps in the pitcher and add sliced peach, orange and mango. Next add sugar and stir gently. Chill mixture for at least one hour. Add ginger ale just before serving.
If you’d like to serve your sangria right away, use chilled white wine and ginger ale and serve over lots of ice.
Stave off boredom by putting kids to work
Kick the Can ice cream is simple, and gets the kids out of the house for a bit, Lakewood Elementary School teacher Christine Seymour says. Jazz it up with a half cup of fresh, sliced strawberries, or a handful of chocolate chips.
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One large and one small clean coffee can
Pour milk, cream, sugar and vanilla into small can. Cover the can and duct tape well. Shake the can to mix. Put a layer of ice and rock salt in large can. Add small can and layer more ice and rock salt. Cover can and duct tape well. Kick or roll the can for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the small can. Scrape the ice cream away from the side of the can. Retape and put back in large can with more ice and rock salt. Kick or roll for 5 to 10 more minutes. Open can, stir and serve.
Stop pets from freaking out
Loud noises and lots of traffic can upset even the calmest of cats or dogs. Sherri Quenzel, of Cherokee Veterinary Hospital, says some of her clinic’s patients are prescribed a mild sedative to get through the fireworks show. If you’ll be home, stay with your pet to comfort them. If you’ll be away, consider your dog’s personality. Will they be happier in a confined, safe space, or with room to hide under the bed? Make the call, then give your pet lots of love when you get home to reassure them.
Keep cool at all costs
It’s probably too hot in your house. But you don’t want to turn on the air conditioner, since you aren’t exactly moving too much. Fill a two-liter soda bottle with water and freeze it. Then set it behind a fan and turn that thing on full blast. Personal AC, basically for free.
Want an upgrade? Book a cabin on the shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s about $150 a night, but anything above 6,000 feet is a good 15 degrees cooler than the valley.
Avoid burning the hot dogs
The secret to delicious hot dogs? There is no secret, Tom Hernandez of Lockeford Meats and Sausage says.
Get the grill nice and hot and give those hot dogs or sausages a minute or two on each side — just enough to warm up and get some pretty grill marks. Extra points for buttered and lightly grilled buns, and for splurging on the good deli mustard. Yum!
Embrace the crazy
It might seem counterintuitive to hand a sparkler to a child. But under the right circumstances, these tiny, hand-held fireworks can be just the thing to appease the kids while grown-up manage the firecrackers. Light the sparkler before you hand it over, restrict the over-enthusiastic waving, and keep a small bucket of water to dump the charred remains. Also, keep some space in between each fire-wielding child.
Or avoid it altogether
Hole away for a few hours at the movie theater. Enjoy your buttered popcorn and the new “Transformers” flick while everyone else sweats it out at the lake. Or volunteer to work that day. Holiday pay plus air conditioning are a win!