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10 Recipes for the Perfect Fireworks-Friendly Picnic

One of the best things about the 4th of July holiday is the fireworks show that happens in almost every big city and tiny town across the United States. It's a time to get your family and friends together, go sit in a park (or if you're really lucky, on a boat), and watch the sky light up. So crank up the John Philips Sousa and let's pack the perfect patriotic 4th of July picnic for our fireworks show.

It's always good to check the rules for the location you plan to watch the fireworks from. Some parks or other public locations have regulations about what kind of containers you can bring in, what bags or coolers you're allowed to carry, and if alcohol is allowed or not. If you're planning a 4th of July picnic, the rules may be different for the holiday, too.

You also want to consider how long you're going to be at the location and how much space you'll have to spread out, as well as how long a walk you have to get to your spot (carrying a giant ice chest loses its appeal after awhile). If you're going to be outside for more than a few hours, make sure you have enough ice to keep food cool, or plan carefully so that you don't have leftover food that needs refrigeration. Bring plenty of water in with you, along with extra paper towels or napkins.

Here are 10 recipes for a 4th of July picnic under the fireworks.

1.Firecracker Popcorn

This red, white, and blue popcorn is so much fun. Pop a giant bunch of popcorn and spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle melted white candy melts on the popcorn and sprinkle with Strawberry Pop Rocks and blue and white sprinkles. Once the mixture hardens, break it into clumps.

Get the recipe here.

2.Patriotic Fruit Skewers

These red, white, and blue skewers function as an appetizer, dessert, or post-dinner snack while watching the fireworks show. They're also easily customized — use bananas in place of the angel food cake if you want all fruit (remember to brush the cut bananas with lemon or lime juice to keep them from browning) or stick marshmallows on the skewers instead of the cake. You can also swap watermelon for the strawberries.

Get the recipe here.

3. Blueberry Caprese Salad

I wholeheartedly support the use of fruit in non-fruit salads, so this mix of blueberries, tomatoes, and mozzarella is a favorite for 4th of July picnics. It's packs well, gets better as the flavors mingle, and is ideal for little fingers who want to pick out their favorite bits.

Get the recipe here.

4. Mexican Street Corn Salad

Summer means sweet corn; here it's the star of this easy picnic-friendly salad. The great thing about this dish is that it works as a side or as a main (with the addition of protein-packed black beans), plus you can use it on tacos or as a dip for chips.

Get the recipe here.

5. Red, White & Blue Bacon Feta Potato Salad

Potato salad is classic summer food, but mayo-heavy versions can be problematic if you plan to be outside for a long time. This no-mayo version has feta cheese and bacon for added flavor and texture (and you can easily leave off the bacon if you prefer) so it's a good picnic choice. Plus, the red, white, and blue potatoes are perfect for a patriotic picnic.

Get the recipe here.

6. Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

Instead of making one kind of sandwich, go with something a little more flexible (especially if you have kids who may or may not want to eat said sandwich at any given time). This shredded pork is the perfect meat for so many good picnic-friendly foods. Pile it on a slider bun with some coleslaw, wrap it in a tortilla with salsa, shredded lettuce, and avocado, or eat it plain — there's no wrong way.

Get the recipe here.

7. Corn Dog Bites

The only thing that beats food on a stick is food in mini-muffin form. Not only are these two-bite corn dogs super easy to make, they're also portable and easy to eat. The kids can even run around with one of these in hand while waiting on the fireworks to start.

Get the recipe here.

8. Red, White & Blue Ooey Gooey Bars

The best desserts for picnics are the kind that don't need forks. Less messy is generally better, sure, but a little marshmallow fluff never hurt anyone. These star-shaped bites might be a little sticky but they're totally worth it.

Get the recipe here.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Apple pie is all American, but it's not the best picnic option. This hand-held version is so much easier to pack up and serve. Don't be surprised if the family next to you starts scooting closer when you pull these out of your picnic basket!

Get the recipe here.

Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade

This festive drink can be made in big batches and it's good for kids and adults alike. Add some star-shaped ice cubes and whole blueberries for a more red, white, and blue feel.

Get the recipe here.

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