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    Fourth of July party: Try expert hosting tips and crowd-pleasing recipes

     

    This July 4, millions of Americans will gather in backyards, at the lake or in parks to celebrate Independence Day.

    The holiday, which marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, is one of the biggest outdoor holidays of the year, with Americans spending $247 million on sparklers, etc., in 2014.

    If it’s your first time to plan a July Fourth gathering for your family and friends, professional event planner Jaime Dobbins is offering a few ideas that may help make it as stress-free and budget-friendly as possible.

    Her first suggestion: Make a plan for the family pets.

    “Fireworks scare pets, and you should really make a plan to accommodate them by boarding that weekend or giving them a quiet place inside the home during your party,” said Dobbins, who owns Grand Lake-based Core Productions Event Planning.

    Other critters you will want to take care of are insects, added Dobbins, a native of the Fort Gibson/Tahlequah area who has more than 10 years of experience handling corporate, college and residential events.

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