Wandering Wednesday | Backyard Bastille Day

This year we're wandering all the way to France! Well just virtually. We've gotten so many messages from readers asking about Indiana's Bastille Day celebration. The organizers of the celebration did decide to take a year off, but they were kind and provided us a fun guest blog post from Gabrielle Hendryx Parker with ideas on how you can capture the fun of Bastille Day in your own backyard! 

5 Tips to Celebrate Indiana Bastille Day in Your Backyard

Every year the French celebrates Bastille Day on the 14th of July to commemorate the start of the French Revolution (1789). The event is very similar to our Independence Day and traditionally also ends with fireworks. While our company Six Feet Up hosted the Indiana Bastille Day event for 7 years in Fortville, we are taking a break this year, so there will not be a celebration in 2016. However this doesn’t mean you can’t hold your own Bastille Day celebration at home! Here are 5 tips to have fun and celebrate many Hoosiers’ French heritage:

1 - Play French Musique

Here’s a quick and cheap way to add a French note of “je-ne-sais-quoi” (literally “I don’t know what”) to the atmosphere: just go to Spotify or Apple iTunes and search for French songs. A great playlist on Spotify can be found at https://open.spotify.com/user/a_vante/playlist/7KL36UD1OwUoSAoKc2HJmE

As a bonus, you can have your little ones draw French flags and place them around.

2 - Enjoy French Food

The French love their pastries, quiches and crêpes. All are great picnic items, which will put you in the mood for a great outdoors-y experience. Trader Joe’s is a great source of frozen French pastries such as chocolate croissants and almond croissants. And you can probably snatch some “Petit Ecolier” cookies at Target or Meijer. Just top it off with a refreshing glass of “Diabolo menthe”, a Parisian favorite in the summer that consists of a blend of mint syrup with French limonade (a kind of sweet ginger ale).

3 - Pétanque

If you go to France in the summer, you’ll surely see many people play a game of boules in parks. “Pétanque” is the equivalent of bocce balls and is played by over 30,000 people in France. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family and the simplicity of the game is sure to please everyone. More can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A9tanque (note that you can buy petanque sets on Amazon for about $40).

4 - Lanterns

Bastille Day celebrations often include a candlelight procession at dusk. This is a fun and beautiful tradition that most children relish. You can make your own lantern using an empty and rinsed clean soda bottle (2 liter preferably). Remove the label. Cut the top of the bottle off. Wrap the body with colorful tissue paper. Pierce 2 diametrically opposed holes about 1/2 in from the top of the edge. Run a picture frame wire through the holes to make a lantern handle. Twist the ends of the wire to secure the wire in place. Then find a 2 feet long tree limb and attach the end of it to the wire using a rubber band. Drop a tea light into the sand at the bottom of the bottle. Wait for dusk and light the bottle up. The more the prettier! Then play the “Marseillaise” (the French national anthem) and have your little ones march around your block with the music. Be sure to take pictures!

5 - Fireworks

Just as the 4th of July, Bastille Day traditionally ends with fireworks. Fortunately, the French celebration takes place 10 days AFTER Independence Day, which means that fireworks are usually dirt cheap by now! Be sure to snatch a bunch and invite your friends, family members and neighbors to enjoy the show. 

And if going outside isn’t your idea of fun, what about playing “Les Misérables” on Netflix?

 - Gabrielle

May - July 2016 Wandering Wednesdays brought to you by Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation and The Waterpark. There is so much to enjoy this year! Check it out.  All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!

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