A part of the fireworks celebration for Independence Day in Athens, Georgia, on Saturday, July 1, 2017. (Photo/Justin Fountain, justingf@uga.edu)

The Cream of the Crop

Hamburgers and Hot Dogs: If you’ve never had this at a block party, you’re not celebrating the Fourth of July right. This stereotypical dish is an absolute must at any Independence Day gathering.

Corn on the Cobb: Another staple to any good block party, corn on the cobb is the perfect All-American side for a Fourth of July cook-out. Nothing says “America” more than corn on the cobb.

A Fourth of July Cake: The perfect way to top off a Fourth of July block party is with an American themed dessert. Especially if you’re the person that makes one of those American flag cakes with white icing, strawberries and blueberries, you’re really winning at life.

Somewhere In-Between

A Watermelon: While watermelon certainly isn’t unwelcome at any summer party, it’s a clear indication of two things: 1) that you’re trying to provide something healthy at one of the most notoriously unhealthy holidays and 2) that you were too lazy to actually prepare something.

Potato Salad: Another one of those not entirely unwelcome dishes, potato salad is kind of forgettable when it comes to a block party. It’s not that no one likes it, it’s just that it kind of gets lost in the mix of everything else. Expect that no one’s going to actually eat it aside from a few elderly people and that you’re more than likely going to be walking home with leftovers.

Those Overly Sugary Frosted Cookies You Always See at Supermarkets: I swear, you can’t go to any holiday get together without seeing these types of cookies. You know the ones I’m talking about—the crumbly sugar ones with the horribly artificially flavored icing and sprinkles. Everyone low-key hates them, but will totally stuff their faces with its calorie-loaded goodness regardless.

The Bottom of the Barrel

A Vegetable Dish: If you’re the neighbor that brought a vegetable dish to a Fourth of July block party, you’re almost as bad as the person that brings a fruit cake to the Christmas office party. No one wants to be healthy for the Fourth of July, so take your carrot sticks and celery back home.

Anything Overly Flashy: Part of the appeal to Fourth of July potluck block parties is that it all features fairly simple dishes you can make at home. Nothing too over-the-top or fancy. That’s what makes neighborhood block parties so generically American. So if you’re coming in with some intricately made dinner dish, then take it to the country club where it belongs.


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