It's now or never time… August will be here before you know it. Have your summer entertaining plans come to pass? In the spring, we dream of summer afternoons in the backyard, entertaining on the deck or patio but sometimes the season gets away from us. If you haven't hosted your friends or neighbors for a barbecue yet, we're going to give you a five-step plan to make it happen before Labor Day.

5 Steps to a Fun Summer Party

Step 1: Check out your patio, your yard, or your deck. Is it party-ready? Pull a few weeds. Add some bright potted flowers if you need to. One of the fun parts of entertaining is taking the opportunity to pick up a few new things. We have some suggestions of American-made items for outdoor entertaining. Instead of laboring over trendy, disposable decorations, invest in a few quality American-made pieces that you can enjoy season after season.

Step 2: Send out invitations. Go ahead, do it now, by email. Name your date and time, but figure out the details later. Once you have a get-together on the calendar and guests confirmed, the excitement will start to build.

Step 3: Go potluck. Ask the guests to bring their favorite cold salad – green, pasta, bean, chopped, you can't go wrong. You provide the grillables. You could do burgers, bratwurst, kebabs, chicken legs, or a side of salmon. But whatever you do, don't feel like you have to offer all of these. Pick your favorite and keep it simple. Paired with your guests' salads, there will be something to make everyone happy.

Step 4: Clean out your cooler. Stock up on beer and seltzer. Plan a single signature cocktail that you can make by the pitcher such as a fun sangria or a fruity mojito. Again, it's ok to offer just a few elegant options.

Step 5: On the day of the party, run out for a bag of ice and a carton of ice cream. Pick up a fresh pie from your nearest farmers' market or bakery. Set out a bowl of thin potato chips and, if you are feeling ambitious, some veggies. Try arranging thick cucumber slices with fresh basil leaves around a hunk of Boursin cheese and let your guests help themselves.

And the most important part of entertaining: relax and enjoy yourself!  Here is our source list of some of our favorite American-made items for outdoor entertaining.

Our Sources for American Made Summer Entertaining Must Haves

Outdoor Furniture and Accessories We Love

Outdoor Entertaining Essentials

Summer Food and Drink Ideas

For More Entertaining Tips

Do you have summer entertaining plans ahead?  Any favorite Made in USA products for outdoor fun? Have a cocktail recipe to share? Do tell.

Have you visited our Made in USA Shopping District? It is the place to start your shopping when you want to find the best of American-made.

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5 simple steps to an easy summer party plus a source list of made in USA essentials to make it happen.

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Also check out our boards for Grilling, Outdoor Necessities, and Summer.