My family gets excited about every holiday, but the 4th of July holds a special place in our hearts. When we can, we spend Independence Day in my mom's hometown of Bristol, R.I., which hosts the oldest 4th of July parade in the country.
But we live 3,000 miles away and can't always make the trip. Several years ago, my sister stepped in and started hosting a West Coast version of parties we remember from our childhoods.
If you're looking for 4th of July ideas, click through this slideshow to see what she does. You'll see photos of her neighborhood's bike parade, her red, white and blue food spread and more.
Missing from the pictures are images of a "candy scramble" for the kids (throw candy in the grass, yell "go," watch kids dive for sugar and fill their bags with as much as they can); backyard carnival booths; and, of course, fireworks (it's legal here).
Do you throw a fun Fourth of July party, too? Tell us about it using this easy form.
-Megan Cooley, About.com Guide to Kids' Parties
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