Planning an All-American patriotic event? Stars & Stripes; Red, White & Blue; and then what? Whether you are planning an Independace Day extravaganza, polical gathering, Veterans Day gala, or Memorial Day festival it is your goal to make your event stand out from the all the rest and leave a meaningful impact. Draw upon the Gracie & Lacy idea bank below and be sure to share your ideas with us - we love to hear from our readers.
Good. No meetings required on the color scheme. A good place to start is with American Flag Ettiquette - here is a site to help you familiarize your self with the do's and don'ts when it comes to displaying our national banner: http://www.usflag.org/flagetiquette.html. This way you are sure not to accidentally cause offense with decor usage.
Lush patriotic bunting is a classic way to make a statement. If using the bunting to border pipe and drape be sure to note the color pattern of the fabric. You want to avoid placing a piece that is bordered by red on red curtain as the dye lots will not match and it won't stand out as nicely from a distance.
Giant letters such as "JULY 4" or "USA" are good space fillers. You can order a variety of styles and sizes from party suppliers such as Stumps or Shindigz. If you are crafty, try making your own out of foam board, wood, or cardboard (Hint: you can often get old refridgerator boxes for free from appliance stores). For added effect, use a white or silver fabric and hit with some LED can lights.
Do your walls look to blah? Use a patriotic Gobo to project images. Make sure the lights in the room are dimmable. You may even choose to project stars or logos on the ceiling. Check out some ideas from these folks.
A classic deep-voiced emcee will help create a seamless flwo to your event. Many comedians, band leaders, and singers, also offer emcee services so check with your mainstage entertainment act to see if they can cover both elements and save you $$$. Be sure to request a script from and emcee in advance so there are no surprises. It is also very helpful if you provide the emcee with an event schedule, talking points, and inside information about your organization a few weeks in advance so they can personalize the performance. Ask the emcee what attire options they offer - a military-style uniform, tuxedo, or Uncle Sam suit are good choices.
If your audience will be mingling or milling around, consider a band for ambiance music. A classic brass band, Dixieland band, or full orchestra will bring an All-American feel to the day. A Barbershop Quartet is a good choice if you are looking great music with low tech. For family events and festivals consider strolling entertainers such as a stilt walker in an Uncle Sam Suit.
If you are planning an event for a seated audience, consider a stage show. Some bands offer a stage show which means they can perform in-costume, with entertaining sing transitions and humour, lighting effects, etc. A good search term is "show band." A few of my favorites are "The Jive Aces" and "The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra."
Another great option is a vintage USO-style variety show. If you are a saavy entertainment planner, you may choose to build your own show by hiring several different acts and writing an emcee script to tie them all together. You might choose an Andrews Sisters-style vocal group, a commedian, an a capella group, a band, dancers, etc. If that sounds like an overwhelming task, feel free to reach out to us as that is a Gracie & Lacy specialty.
Think classic Americana. For casual events you may go all out on a gourmet hot dog buffet bar. For the sweet tooth side, nothing is quite as classic as an apple or cherry pie. Perhaps even a pie eating contest is in order! Other ideas include: ice cream social, backyard barbeque, red-white-and-blue-foods-only buffet, elegant gelatin art desserts, colorful beverage fountains, the list goes on and I'm getting hungry now!