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The ultimate party guide for 5 major summer festivities

Written by:
June 3, 2024
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This story originally appeared on Peerspace and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

The ultimate party guide for 5 major summer festivities

As Will Smith put it in his 1991 track "Summertime," summer is often a "time to sit back and unwind." But before you follow Smith's advice, you should probably earmark a few of the upcoming festivities that might just get you up on your feet.

The summer months usher in a variety of holiday celebrations spanning sports, family, history, and more. You can kick off the season with a summer solstice soiree on June 20, cheer on your favorite athletes at watch parties for the Summer Olympics, and plan to see the biggest and best Fourth of July fireworks show you can find.

Whichever summer events are in your future, this season is the perfect time of year to take the festivities outdoors. Enjoy warmer temperatures, fresh air, and longer, sunnier days while you tune in to the U.S. Open or host a Father's Day barbecue.

If you're having a hard time planning a summer get-together of your own, Peerspace is here to help. Using information from various other sources, this guide offers suggestions for throwing holiday parties and putting new spins on old traditions. Read on to find inspiration for celebrating five major summer festivities.

People with patriotic decor having dinner outside.
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Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer festivities for many Americans. When planning a festive get-together, the color theme is an easy choice: red, white, and blue, down to the desserts, but there are also many ways to remember those who lost their lives serving in the United States Armed Forces, while embracing the liberties their actions have gained for the country.

Originally known as Decoration Day, this holiday (which is said to have begun with the African American community in the South) emerged in the wake of the Civil War as a way to offer tributes at the graves of fallen soldiers. Gather friends together and craft red poppy pins, a flower that has become closely associated with this holiday thanks to "In Flanders Fields," a World War I poem written in honor of fallen soldiers. Ask guests to write letters of encouragement and gratitude to soldiers who are in service. Many organizations such as Support Our Troops and Operation We Are Here will accept these letters and ensure they get to those who need to read them the most. Guests could also help assemble care packages and have them sent to service members around the world through Operation Shoebox.

A grandfather figure BBQs with smiling family members gathered around him.
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Father's Day

In the U.S., Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in the month of June. The first Father's Day took place in 1910 and became an official holiday in 1966, courtesy of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Father's Day traditions run the gamut across the country. Throwing a barbecue in the backyard or community park is a popular way to celebrate—bonus points if other dads are invited for a grilling competition). Other ways to highlight fathers include dressing up like Dad, sharing thoughtful gifts or photos, and telling a few "dad jokes." This is also a great opportunity to show your love and appreciation for any other father figures you may have in your life.

A crowd celebrating Juneteenth at a park.
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One of the newest federal holidays commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Union troops enforced the freeing of enslaved people in Galveston and other areas of Texas. President Joe Biden formally declared Juneteenth as a national holiday in 2021.

Across the country, many people uplift local Black businesses and leaders in honor of Juneteenth. You can celebrate by purchasing products and services from Black-owned businesses, hosting a community gathering, or making a donation to a historically Black college or university like Texas Southern University. You can also use this day to seek out further information about the history of Juneteenth and slavery in the U.S.

Friends playing pool volleyball.
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2024 Summer Olympics

The 2024 Summer Olympics have been eagerly awaited since the tumultuous 2021 Games, which were upended by the pandemic. This international athletic competition dates back to ancient Greek times and features long-standing sports like track and field events, as well as newer categories that include skateboarding and surfing.

Paris will host the 2024 Olympics from July 26 through Aug. 11, but if you can't make it to the City of Love this summer, hold a watch party at home. Organize your own mini-Olympics with group competitions and games, offer French-themed foods and drinks—think: charcuterie and champagne—and encourage guests to bring flags to show support for different countries. If you really want to go the extra mile, consider booking a band or DJ to perform popular French music.

Six tennis-themed cupcakes on a plate.
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US Open Tennis Championships

Some of the world's greatest tennis athletes—Serena Williams, Stefanie Graf, and Pete Sampras, to name a few—have played in the highly competitive U.S. Open Tennis Championships. This tournament takes place in late August into early September in Queens, New York, where tennis fans and celebrities alike gather to watch the best and brightest take the main stage at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

If you're planning a watch party at home, make your guests feel like they're sitting courtside by reserving a local outdoor space or setting up a projector and some seats in your backyard. You can also ask guests to dress up as their favorite players for a friendly costume contest. For those who might be unfamiliar with tennis terms, create helpful cue cards to make sure everyone's in the know. Throw together a few tennis-themed snacks and drinks, and you're sure to have an unforgettable watch party.

Story editing by Cu Fleshman. Copy editing by Lois Hince. Photo selection by Lacy Kerrick.

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