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As the temperature rises, so do the flames on the outdoor barbecue! With the days growing warmer and longer, get ready to party as the backyard grill once again becomes the focal point of summer celebrations.

Outdoor grilling has come a long way from camping days and hot dogs on an open fire. Some of today's grills are complete gourmet kitchens on wheels, with the focus of summer parties in the U.S. beginning with Memorial Day through the 4th of July to season's end with Labor Day.

Whether your favorites are hot dogs, chicken, steak and hamburgers, barbecued pork, kabobs, or even grilled salmon, an outdoor barbecue is the perfect way to entertain - relaxed and informal with plenty of delicious food, drinks and decorations to make the party festive.

These days, all sorts of gatherings centered around the barbecue including tailgate parties, birthday bashes, Hawaiian luaus, family reunions, as well as weekend pool parties and garden party celebrations.

Planning your outdoor barbecue party

vegetable kabobs
For an extra-savory barbecue, try
vegetable kabobs made of tomato,
mushroom, zucchini and red onion.

Planning your backyard barbecue party can be as easy as inviting friends and neighbors for a casual sit down -- or if it's a formal celebration -- leaving enough time for preparing the menu, and sending out invitations. You can either purchase invitations or save money with do-it-yourself barbecue clip art adding messages that read "BBQ Bash!" or "We're Having a Pig Out!, with date, time and RSVP details.

When planning the menu, be sure to keep the number of guests in mind, and have enough food on hand especially if hungry kids and teens are coming over! That includes all the fixin's such as the macaroni and potato salad. Also, make it easy on yourself by having plenty of drinks and beverages in clearly marked coolers so guests can help themselves.

For dessert, think about traditional summer fare such as ice cream, soda floats, or delicious fruit kabobs in keeping with the occasion!

After the feasting is over, let the real fun begin by arranging party games and activities for kids of all ages. Consider a traditional game of horseshoes, a water balloon toss, a team relay race, --or if the theme is Hawaiian -- how about a backyard hula dancing competition?

Elsewhere around the Web, find more tips for planning your next barbecue party including advice and resources for creating invitations, party activities, games, and recipes with more barbecue party ideas just up ahead ...have fun!

More Barbecue Articles & Resources:
  • 10 Smoky Tips To BBQ Safety

  • New England Clam Bake

  • Fire Up the Grill! Outdoor Ideas

  • Top 5 Barbecuing Best Bets


    More about barbecue party ideas around the Web:

    Girls at the Grill
    - "A girls site for all things grillin'" offers tips and tricks from what to wear - to what to grill. Get information on grills and hardware, recipes, menu ideas, a 'libation station' for what to wash it all down with, and don't miss a downloadable activity book to help get the kids involved.

    BBQ & Outdoor Parties - has a slew of ideas for cheap and affordable fun outdoor entertainment including recipes and cooking tips.

    Kid's Fun Barbecue Birthday - Here's a kid's birthday BBQ party with a wild west theme is a big hit and so easy with these tips for everything from planning and invitations to games, foods and favors.

    The Summer BBQ Party - Function Junction has sound advice for throwing a summertime barbecue bash. They'll help you decide how many hamburgers or steaks to grill, tips for toppings and sauces and grilling veggies. Be sure to click on the links for party recipes and drink recipes to see the great lists of suggestions for your outdoor party.

    BBQ Party Games and Ideas - You'll find a brief overview of ideas for food and a couple of good game ideas here that don't appear on other sites. The focus is selling their party supplies.

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