It's the kind of spread that conquers restraint: big, juicy burgers with your favorite fixings, fresh corn on the cob, smoky baked beans. Kids clamber to see the edible American flag (with stripes made of hot dogs).
Volunteers handle the grilling, and a line forms as fast as you can say "cheese."
Such a scene ― full of old-fashioned, small-town camaraderie ― is an annual highlight for five Boulder families.
For eight years now, the Heyman-McConnells and their friends have been celebrating the Fourth with a neighborhood block party.
"Even though this party's on a grand scale," says Jane McConnell, whose home is the base of operations, "we've got it down to a system. One night before the party, we meet to set it all up, and it all comes together seamlessly."
We've acquired recipes, ideas, and tips from a Boulder neighborhood (adding a few of our own) to create a menu that can work for a family gathering or an entire block party. The dishes serve about 10 people; scale the quantities or number of dishes up or down, divvy up the cooking, and make an old-fashioned feast your new tradition.