Simple steps for planning a memorable Fourth of July barbecue

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(BPT) - Summer is full of adventure, celebration and fun. With Fourth of July just around the corner, you're probably getting excited for the largest grill-out day of the season. With a few simple steps you can have a barbecue that is fun for all ages, with activities and food everyone will enjoy.

Follow these simple steps when planning your summer celebrations so you can make lasting memories together:

Be prepared with the right supplies

You probably have the menu planned and ready to go, but make sure you aren't so focused on the meal that you forget cooking essentials. If you're grilling, remember things like spatulas and foil. More likely than not, you'll have plenty of leftovers so extra containers or plastic bags are great for storage and sending home leftovers when the party is over. Festive decorations set the tone, so add a fun disposable tablecloth and balloons or banners to get guests in the Fourth of July spirit. Finally, folding chairs and blankets ensure plenty of room to sprawl out comfortably.

Add in family-friend activities

Spending time with friends and family is what makes a summer barbecue special, but having a few games to keep everyone busy and entertained only adds to the fun. Yard games are ideal for Fourth of July events, so ask guests to each bring a fun game. Extras like a football, chalk, jump rope, kite or sand toys may be a hit with the kids. Lastly, don't overlook the potential a pack of cards or a puzzle can provide, especially for multigenerational get-togethers.

Check the bug forecast

As the big celebration day nears, you're probably checking the weather hoping for sunshine, blue skies and gentle breezes. While you might be lucky enough to have sunny skies, warm weather often brings in uninvited guests — mosquitoes. As you check the weather, you can also now check your local mosquito forecast with OFF!CastTM, a first-of-its-kind model that predicts local mosquito populations by ZIP code up to seven days in advance.

Protect yourself from pests

Having an effective bug spray can help ensure pests don't ruin your Fourth. Insider tip: Insect repellent is most effective when you apply it after sunscreen as the final step before heading outside. New OFF!® Clean Feel Insect Repellent has no greasy feel or odor, making it easy to incorporate into your daily routine. It's a great addition that will give you protection from mosquitoes that lasts for up to eight hours.

Cover up and cool food

From salads to sweets to meats, great food is often the star of the show of summer barbecues. Make sure food is kept at safe temperatures for eating and not left out for too long in the hot elements. Place cool dishes in larger trays of ice to chill them while being served and keep all dishes covered to keep bugs away. If you have a larger gathering, a kiddie pool filled with ice is a great location for keeping drinks cool, plus adds a fun, festive element.

Fourth of July is a special time to celebrate with loved ones and enjoy good company and great food. With these simple steps, you can make memories that will last well after the party is over.