For Americans, Independence Day means patriotism and a time to spend with family sharing good food and fun. As citizens of all backgrounds gathered to celebrate freedom, the Church of God in Ridgewood hosted a Fourth of July Cookout bringing families and friends together. The day’s schedule was packed with fun games, performances, and mouth-watering food.

The members decorated the Church’s fellowship room in a stars-and-stripes theme and with red, white and blue balloons. As guests arrived, they enjoyed each other’s company in the fellowship room. Around noon, the grills fired up and the burgers began to flip. The day was not short of everyone’s favorite BBQ food and international dishes, including Italian Antipasta and Peruvian Chaufa.

Around mid-afternoon, everyone was ready for games. The obstacle course competition began. Set up on the back lawn of the Church, the course consisted of six different obstacles.

First, an uphill run. Then, it went on to a pool noodle maze. The contestants had to then play dizzy bat before a hula hoop jump — they had to jump through four Hula Hoops with their feet together. Next, the tire obstacle, which also required the players to jump with two feet through a series of tires. After that was the string crawl, in which they had to crawl under one string, and jump over several more strings. The potato-sack race was the last course to determine the winner.

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Everyone watched participants of all ages running wild and falling down and getting back up in the obstacle course. With such a hysterical sight, it was impossible to not laugh and cheer throughout the entire course.

Throughout the rest of the day, there were plenty of other activities to enjoy such as ping-pong, table games, musical performances, and even dance challenges. Indeed, Independence Day at the Church of God was a fun-filled day to love and respect our country as well as bond with our family and friends.