Don’t let summer slip away without a proper celebration! An end-of-summer gathering can be a wonderful way to slow down and savor the moment. Choose the fete that means the most to you: a harvest party to celebrate local food, a post-beach bash to enjoy the seaside or a best-of-summer mixer to look back over your travels with family and friends. Here you’ll find ideas to create a fun, end-of-summer party.
Meet up after the farmer’s market for canning. Ask each person to show up to the party with a bagful of farmer’s market produce of their choice, along with a recipe they would like to use. Coordinate ahead of time to make sure you have enough supplies for all of the cooking projects.
Get canning! Jam, tomato sauce and pie fillings are classics. Or, if heat canning sounds like too much trouble, you could always make refrigerator pickles and freezer jam. When you’re all done, divvy up the goods so each person goes home with an assortment of goodies.
Finish with a simple dinner outdoors. Make dinner easy and fresh by focusing on farmer’s market ingredients that can be pulled together quickly—local cheese and fruit for an appetizer, and something on the grill for dinner. And while the grill is still hot, why not grill up a few halved peaches for dessert? They are divine topped with ice cream or honey.
Go to the beach one more time. Check off all of your favorite summer-beach-day traditions on one afternoon: Take a dip, build a sand castle, collect shells and treasures and go for a walk. Head home when tummies start grumbling close to dinnertime.
Eat a fresh-from-the-shore feast. Lobster rolls, clams, fresh grilled fish…indulge in a dinner showcasing your favorite summer seafood. Round out the meal with crusty bread and corn on the cob.
Swap travel stories and slideshows. Invite your friends and family over for a travel slideshow party with a twist—ask each person to bring their own photos to share, and take turns showing off where you’ve been. To make the event even more worthwhile, ask each guest to bring a list of his or her top-10-favorite places from a summer trip. After the party, each person can go home with a collection of mini travel guides!
Make scrapbooks. It’s so common to just keep photos on the computer now, but there is something satisfying about making an honest-to-goodness album you can hold in your hands. Have guests bring photos from one summer trip that they would like to turn into an album, along with any mementos and an album to put them in. As the host you’ll provide a workspace, a selection of pens, glue, photo corners and scrapbook paper.
Farm out the decorating and food to friends. Make your best-of-summer party (or any party) easier on yourself by farming out tasks to your guests. Email a sign-up sheet in advance and ask people to sign up to bring food, drinks and party decor. Some people don’t like to cook but would love to bring a mason jar of flowers or a string of paper lanterns to hang over the table. It gets people involved, and it’s fun to see who shows up with what.
Tell us: Are you planning an end-of-summer party?