Some call them bonfires; some call them campfires; the name is just a function of region and culture. Either way, after a long day of fun, there is no finer way of continuing that fun, while simultaneously slowly shifting down the gears into relaxation, than with a fire. Here are some ways of enjoying an outdoor fire with family and/or friends.
Things on sticks
Smores are the classic bonfire treat. One can get fancy-schmantzy about this, but the simple ways are the best ways. Hot dogs, sausages, and even fruits like bananas and pineapple junks also make tasty treats to cook on the fire.
Before the fire is lit, wrap baking potatoes or any other root vegetable that is a favorite in thick tin foil and bury them in shallow ear the perimeter of the fire ring. Be sure that this area is initially covered with burning wood. When the fire has retreated sufficiently to take a spade to the area (allow a good two hours for this), dig up the cooked spuds/etc., add salt and butter and Bon Appetito!
Sparklers do not have to be used only on the 4th of July weekend. Kids especially love writing their names in the sky.
Yes, this is why they were invented. Can’t play worth a darn? No one cares! Just singing with any kind of vaguely in time strum is quite good enough.
While fun is the goal, do not forget safety!
Have water and sand nearby
One might as well get the safety tips out there first. If the fire is in the backyard, have a hose at hand. Note: ‘at hand’ does not mean ‘neatly rolled on a hanger fifty feet away inside the garage.’ It should be connected to an outlet and have a spray nozzle attached. Regardless of where the fire is being held, there should be a bucket of water at the ready, as well as sand in case the fire starts to creep past its boundaries.
Do not start the fire under overhanging branches, or upwind from shingled roofs. The reasons should be obvious, but every summer the local TV news features video footage of someone’s house burning to the ground after throwing caution – and sparks – literally to the wind.
Finally do not forget to put that fire out when everyone is tired and wants to go to bed! It may look out, but it is amazing how it can still be smoldering at dawn. Nobody wants a forest fire!
Have you experience a large family bonfire? Is it a family tradition?