Americans love the 4th of July. It’s patriotism, hot dogs, family picnics on a warm summer day, and fireworks. BIG fireworks. What’s not to love?

But there’s a lot you may not know about this laid-back summer holiday. Settle in; it’s about to get interesting.

July 4th is a big day to put on the feed bag. For starters, Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs and about 700 million pounds of chicken. It gets better. We spend $92 million on chips, $167.5 million on watermelon, and $341.4 million on beer. That’s a lot of consumption!

In a more thoughtful observation, did you know that the stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the colonies would appear equal? Pretty cool when you think about it.

Leaning towards the “its too weird to be true,” Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on the Fourth. In a bizarre twist of fate, Adams and Jefferson died on July 4th in 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the country they helped found. You can’t make this stuff up.

And boy, has America grown! In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. Today, the population of our USA is over 326 million and growing.

All those fun facts aside, July 4th is a time to celebrate our freedoms in this country. To give reverence to our founding fathers and spend time with those we love.

Our family has always loved the 4th of July for all kinds of reasons. Mostly, because it gives us an opportunity to gather together on a beautiful summer day, share our favorite recipes, relive family memories, catch up with the kids and grandkids, cousins and siblings, all while making new memories along the way. It’s hard to top that.

What is YOUR favorite part about the 4th of July?

However you choose to spend Independence Day, I hope it’s a day filled with love, abundance and laughter.

As for old glory … long may she wave.