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Fourth of July Survival Guide

This Fourth of July, get patriotic with Miley Cyrus, spruce up boring potato salad and impress your friends with holiday trivia

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Posted: Saturday, July 3, 2010 4:46 am

Your Fourth of July Soundtrack

“God Bless the U.S.A.,” Lee Greenwood.

“Party in the U.S.A.,” Miley Cyrus.

“Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” Toby Keith.

“Born in the U.S.A.,” Bruce Springsteen.

“America,” Neil Diamond.

Dead-set on lighting your own fireworks?

Don’t do it in Lodi. But feel free to light them in Galt or Stockton, where it’s legal to sell and use fireworks. Most fireworks booth in Galt are open all day on July 4 or until they sell out.

Pass the all-American side dish

Potato salad and potato chips are popular food items at Fourth of July barbecues. Half of the nation’s spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2009.

— USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Doctor-up boring potato salad

Whether you are bored with your basic potato salad or want to improve the store-bought dish, here are ways to doctor it up and make it as yummy as grandma used to make:

  • Add boiled eggs. Cook them up, let them cool, cut into small cubes and add to the mix.
  • Consider celery. It gives a crunchy texture if the pieces are chopped fine enough.
  • Add a scoop of sweet pickle relish.
  • Chop olives or smoosh them with your hands. They’re a nice surprise and give a nutty flavor.
  • Don’t forget to mix in your favorite seasonings, like paprika or dill. Be careful with the salt, especially if you’re using a store-bought base.

309.6 million

The nation’s estimated population on this July Fourth.

— U.S. Census

Think Lodi’s patriotic? Try American Fork or Independence, Mo.

  • There are 31 places nationwide with “liberty” in their name. The most populous one is Liberty, Mo. Iowa, with four cities, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
  • Thirty places have “eagle” in their name — after the majestic bird that serves as our national symbol. For example, Eagle Pass, Texas.
  • Eleven places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Mo. with a population of 110,440 residents.
  • Five places adopted the name “freedom.” Freedom, Calif., in Santa Cruz County, with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these.
  • There is one place named “patriot” – Patriot, Ind., with a population of 189.
  • And what could be more fitting than spending the Fourth of July in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, population 27,064.

— Population estimates

The Fourth is all about the watermelon

Steve Schnabel, assistant produce manager at Apple Marketplace in Lodi, says he finds perfect watermelons by finding one with a nice hollow sound. “If it’s a dull sound, most of the time, it’s overripe,” he said.

Avoid the hangover

“It’s Fourth of July somewhere.” What, you’ve never heard that saying? Oh. Well, it should be something people say, because the holiday is one of many holidays when it’s OK to start drinking when you wake up. So exactly how do you fend of that Fifth of July Hangover when you spend 24 hours with your hand gripped around a beer or shot glass? Try all of the below:

  • Eat starches and foods with vitamins. This means healthy foods that can absorb the alcohol.
  • Alternate beverages. For every alcoholic drink you finish, finish a juice or water.
  • Don’t drink more than one drink per hour. The liver breaks down alcohol at the rate of one beer per hour.
  • Tattoo this on your arm: “Liquor before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor, never sicker.”
  • Before you pass out at the end of the day, drink a glass of water and take vitamin B.

Ignore the last tips and drink yourself into oblivion?

Try these hangover remedies:

  • Water. After you pretty much dried our your body — and brain (ahem, headache) with alcohol — your body is craving water. Add in a sports drink to get back salts and electrolytes.
  • Take an aspirin — or ibuprofen — but don’t overdo it. While you’re at the drugstore, pick up bottle of B12 and B6.
  • Go out to breakfast: Think thick slices of bacon, eggs, greasy potatoes and some toast.

Biggest and best Fourth of July, ever

If you get excited about having a three-day weekend because of Fourth of July, imagine celebrating for 11 days. That’s how the Wawa Welcome America celebration in Philadelphia parties it up. While most are familiar with Philly’s Fourth of July concert and its place as the “Largest Free Concert in America,” there is an entire week of other activities for those of all ages. This year there will be three fireworks shows lighting up Philadelphia’s night skies.

Impress your friends with useless knowledge of the American flag

$3 million: The dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2009. The vast majority of this amount ($2.5 million) was for U.S. flags made in China. $301.5 million: Annual dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers, according to the latest published economic census data.

— Foreign Trade Statistics and 2007 Economic Census

Take care of the dogs

Sure, they’re dogs. But fireworks shows with their bright lights, booming noises and loud screeching can make family pets stress and panic. If you have to leave your dog alone, leave them indoors with the TV on. Keep all windows and doors closed to keep the sound out. Feed your dog long before the time fireworks begin, and make sure he or she has a special toy to play with. Plan to keep your dog away from strange dogs that may excite him during the fireworks.

4th of July at the Lake: An American Celebration

Staying close to home and celebrate with Lodi style.

When: July 4, gates open at 7 a.m., fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Where: Lodi Lake, 1101 W. Turner Road.

Cost: Free admission to fireworks show. Swimming is $3 for adults, $1.50 for ages 3-17.

Activities: Beer, food and drink booths. Bounce houses, reptile show, snow cones, hands-on crafts and balloon animals, food booths, face painting.

41st annual Kiwanis pancake breakfast: 7-11 a.m. at Lodi Lake. $6 adults, $4 kids, free for kids under 4.

View from another angle: Watch from the parking structure in Downtown Lodi.

Leave the husks on

Cooking corn in the husk is a good way to get that nice smoky, yet sweet flavor. First, peel back the outer layer of husks, making sure to keep them attached to the ear of the corn. Wash the corn and remove inside layers of husks and silk. Then, cover the corn once again with the remaining outer husks and soak in water for a half hour. Grill over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes. The husks will burn, but the corn will not. Let cool. Tip: Spread butter under the husks before grilling.

Fourth of July Patriotic Movie Guide

1. “1776” — Like music? Like history? Then you’ll probably enjoy “1776,” that is known as the best musical about the foundation of the United States.

2. “Rocky” — It’s the story of the underdog going after his American dream, plus, he battles for the heavyweight title in Philadelphia on the Fourth of July.

3. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” — Doesn’t the title say enough? The story of composer George M. Cohan includes a big patriotic performance.

4. “Patton” — Americans love their heroes, especially when they are famous for their big scenes in from of a huge American flag.

5. “Forrest Gump” — He’s a soldier who saved lives, fought in the war and is the perfect American.

Photograph fireworks show like the pros

Follow these tips for different effects:

  • Use a tri-pod. If it’s dark, you won’t be able to hand-hold anything. You’ll have blurry photos from your hand shaking.
  • Use longer exposures to get the trailing light.
  • Use a nice, wide angle so you get the sky and the ground in the shot. It gives perspective to the height and size of the fireworks.

— Dan Evans, News-Sentinel Chief Photographer

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