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BITES - June 27, 2013 

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Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again. The time when everyone finds some sort of red, white, and blue outfit to sport while sitting in traffic on the way to some ideal destination for fireworks viewing.

The smell of barbecue fills the air while some drunk uncle burns the hot dogs on the grill because he’s had one too many beers. Someone’s homemade fruit pie sits on the table with stars cut out, almost too pretty to eat, and kids run around with sparklers in hand while you hope nothing catches fire.

This year, why not stay home? The Central Coast is always overrun with tourists throughout the summer anyway, and the fog rolls in, so the fireworks are only partially viewable. If only someone would think of a TV special for the Fourth of July. Every major network does it for New Year’s Eve and Christmas, so why not Independence Day? Sure, it’s not the same as sitting out on a beach, bundled up and shivering, then rushing back to your car so you can beat traffic, but you’ll be warm, comfortable, and relaxed.

Heck, why not make your place the spot for the day? Invite some friends over, take to Pinterest for decorating ideas, and spend that gas money you saved on more booze. Garnish the sangria with star-shaped fruit and keep the kids occupied by letting them decorate their own star-spangled cupcakes. The streets will be dead anyway so they can still run around with sparklers. If you’re worried about missing out on the fireworks shows, don’t. There’s always some drunk college kid a block or two away, lighting his own fireworks that he probably obtained illegally.

But then again, there’s no other time of year when artists gather to make extravagant sand creations, and the small towns close their streets for the day for parades. Strangers are pleasant and happy thanks to the nostalgia, or maybe the alcohol, and people actually remember their manners.

To take to the streets or not? Hot dogs, pie, a box of Cracker Jack’s, and unflattering tan lines: There’s just something about the Fourth of July that warms my heart.  

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