PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Big firework displays and big crowds may not be happening this Fourth of July weekend. But, locals can still have big fun. Start with going on a picnic. When was the last time you spread out a blanket on the grass, packed up some great eats, and enjoyed the great outdoors? Choose dishes that travel well and are made in advance like sandwiches, salads, cookies, and iced tea. And don’t forget the cooler. The Portland area has some beautiful scenery to enjoy. 

And, be sure to whip up dessert. Fourth of July brings new opportunities to incorporate red, white, and blue frosting and berries to amplify an after-dinner indulgence. Whether it’s a cake, pie, brownies, layered strawberry shortcake with blueberries, cupcakes or cookies, this weekend get the whole family involved for some festive baking and decorating. The internet is filled with thousands of recipe ideas and the time together to celebrate Independence Day will get you in the spirit. An easy no bake option? Blueberries, strawberries, and marshmallows or angel food cake on a kabob stick would be perfect for your picnic.

While we’re enjoying the great outdoors, transform the backyard into a movie theater by creating a white wall and utilizing a projector. Illuminate an American classic in your own backyard for a movie night under the stars. Whether you tape up a piece of white fabric or poster boards, buy a professional free-standing screen set-up or make one with PVC pipes, pick-up a projector and you’re ready for opening night once the sun goes down. When choosing a projector, the more lumens, the better to ensure bright, clear quality. Many projectors come with built-in speakers. Connect your phone or game console to access content. Make some popcorn and tear some tickets. Creating the set-up is half the experience. 

And, pick your teams and get the prizes ready. It’s time for some outdoor games. Whether you go big — with an oversized Connect 4 or chess set on the lawn — or smaller with American flags from the dollar store and glow stick rings to create a ring toss, it’ll be fun to be outside and get competitive. Set up the Slip-N-Slide, do a bean bag toss, let the kids run through the sprinklers, play board games on the patio, or try your best at croquet. A scavenger hunt in the yard? Sure. You make the rules. Make sure hand sanitizer is available and try to stick to playing in small groups or with your family to be safe.

Anyone else missing Waterfront Blues Festival this year? You’re in luck. You can still enjoy the sights and sounds of Portland’s popular festival from the comfort of your couch. Join KOIN on Independence Day for Blues Fest Flashback and Fireworks — a two hour special at 9 p.m. featuring fireworks and music from big headliners, local artists, and crowd favorites. We’re capping off the night with a spectacular fireworks show over the Willamette River. 

Still looking for more ideas? With the sun shining, take to the patio to complete some 4th of July crafts. Websites such as Country Living, Red Tricycle, Real Simple, and Pinterest have some great Do-It-Yourself 4th of July ideas on their websites. From using grass-friendly chalk spray paint to draw some stars and stripes to decorative and decorated burlap banners, painting pots for plants, and decorating face masks to keep the family safe, get creative when thinking about our country this 4th of July. Put your flag up in your yard and get busy.

OK, did I spark any inspiration? Here’s wishing you a great — and safe — holiday weekend.