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Set a Vintage Table for Your Fourth of July Cookout

by Reyne Haines (07/03/12).

With just a little bit of searching, you can set a vintage table for your Fourth of July cookout. Vintage dresses, purses and gloves optional.

Your upcoming Fourth of July BBQ party is just a day away. If you’re like me, you’ve make the checklist of things you need:

• Chicken, hotdogs, hamburgers;
• Kool-Aid for the kids, Shiner Bock for the adults;
• Potato salad, chips, pickles;
• Those great little flags for the kids to wave, along with a few water balloons.

It’s going to be another backyard bash, but what makes your party stand out from the rest? This year, you’ll incorporate a little vintage dinnerware and barware to make your event memorable.

Everyone loves the three-sectioned plates to keep the barbeque beans from touching the potato salad and then getting all over the meat! Instead of drab paper plates that have the ability of folding and spilling all over your guest, try serving your feast on Fiesta Ware grill plates!

Three-sectioned Fiesta Ware grill plates keep the barbeque beans from touching the potato salad and then getting all over the meat!

Fiesta Ware; the most popular American dinnerware ever, was introduced in America in 1936 by the Homer Laughlin Pottery Company of Newell, West Virginia. There were numerous changes over the years for shapes, sizes and designs, and it was eventually discontinued in 1972.

Fiesta Ware offers a multi-colored line of grill plates that are affordable, and can be found in local antique stores, online sites and even flea markets. Do you need a platter to hold all the hamburger buns? They make those too—along with salad plates, bowls, dessert bowls, tumblers, water pitchers, etc.

What’s a summer BBQ without sweet tea? It just doesn’t happen in Texas, where I’m based. What better way to serve your tea than with an antique pitcher and tumblers? The options are endless; starting with a great pattern glass set from the Victorian era to something hip from the 1960s?!

A Red Wing stoneware two-gallon Iced Tea Cooler with lid, the perfect container for keeping your tea cool.

The tea can also be kept cold in a stoneware cooler. They hold around two gallons of liquid and will keep it ice cold on a hot Houston day. Stoneware has been around since the early 1800s. Originally made to hold water, stoneware coolers can vary in price, depending on design, artist and decoration—from a few hundred dollars, to tens of thousands. Certainly an expensive way to keep the tea cold, but oh what a conversation piece!

If stoneware is not in your budget, there are certainly other less expensive items that will impress your guests. Picture this; the fireworks have started and your guests are ooohing and aaahing at the sparkles in midair. Why not dazzle them with a dirty martini served in a vintage crystal martini glass. A variety of makers produced martini glasses (and shakers) starting in the 1950s (the martini heyday). Vintage glasses can be purchased from as little as $6 to $8 each to more than $150 apiece, depending on the maker.

Vintage Waterford crystal martini glasses and stainless steel shaker.

The combination of great food, tasty drinks and unique serving pieces will guarantee your party to be a memorable one!

Reyne Haines is an appraiser with an expertise in 20th Century Decorative Arts. She hosts “The Art of Collecting” on KPRC in Houston, a weekly program spotlighting trends and news items in the world of antiques & collectibles, is a repeat guest on CBS’ “The Early Show” and can be heard on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius Satellite Radio Network. She is also the author of the richly-illustrated book “Vintage Watches” published by Krause.

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