This week we celebrate our Independence Day, but not as well as we could.

I’m a native Midwesterner, where we take our Fourth of July quite seriously.

The VP Fair in St. Louis is annually one of the biggest summer celebrations in America. As a kid there wasn’t a summer that our Missouri (where fireworks were legal) relatives weren’t smuggling fireworks across the Illinois border, and there was rarely a Fourth that went by without smelling pork steaks sizzling on the grill.

This week we celebrate our Independence Day, but not as well as we could.

I’m a native Midwesterner, where we take our Fourth of July quite seriously.

The VP Fair in St. Louis is annually one of the biggest summer celebrations in America. As a kid there wasn’t a summer that our Missouri (where fireworks were legal) relatives weren’t smuggling fireworks across the Illinois border, and there was rarely a Fourth that went by without smelling pork steaks sizzling on the grill.

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The Five: Ways to improve the Fourth of July

This week we celebrate our Independence Day, but not as well as we could.

I’m a native Midwesterner, where we take our Fourth of July quite seriously.

The VP Fair in St. Louis is annually one of the biggest summer celebrations in America. As a kid there wasn’t a summer that our Missouri (where fireworks were legal) relatives weren’t smuggling fireworks across the Illinois border, and there was rarely a Fourth that went by without smelling pork steaks sizzling on the grill.

But in Arizona? Not the same. And I certainly don’t blame the Arizonan for it.

Our oppressive summer heat tends to be most oppressive this time of year. I’ve tried celebrating the Fourth with the same gusto since moving to the Southwest, but that gusto has admittedly fizzled over the years.

Perhaps it’s time we launched a few new traditions. This week’s “The Five” explores a few new possibilities…