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Host a Party ‘Round the Fire

Lynn Coulter
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roasting marshmallows over fire

 If you enjoy entertaining, don’t let the change of seasons push your party inside. Gather good friends and good food around a fire pit or chimenea instead, and host an easy get-together outdoors.

Chimeneas are portable, front-loading fireplaces with chimneys, while pre-made fire pits are large bowls, often made of metal, that hold fuel for an outdoor fire. Both are easy-to-assemble and make popular garden accessories. For best results, use your fire pit or chimenea on a level patio or other base made of a fireproof material like stone, concrete, or brick.

KD Clay Chiminea, Smoked BrownChimineas

If you prefer a rustic look, choose a handcrafted chimenea made from 100% natural clay. The KD Clay Chimenea, at right, has a “Smoked Brown” finish that takes on an attractive old-world look after it’s been used for some time.

 Have small children or pets around? Opt for Hampton Bay’s Cast Iron Patio Chimenera, shown below. An attached safety screen helps contain flames, while an adjustable airflow control in the flue allows you to regulate the burn. This traditional look chiminea produces up to 2.8 square feet of heat for your outdoor living area.

Hampton Bay cast iron chiminea

Fire Pits

If you’re inviting several guests, choose the Hampton Bay Collette Fire Pit, below right, so they can circle around the fire. This model has a large bowl to hold plenty of wood and comes with a mesh screen and fire poker. The bowl fits on a sturdy stand made of steel.  Hampton Bay Collette Fire Pit

Tips to Spark Your Party

  • Mark a path to the party spot with LED luminarias. Place the lanterns along a walk or driveway, or use them to brighten dark corners on the patio.
  • Are you short on chairs? Consider a deck storage box that’s designed to double as an extra seat. Look for longer storage boxes made to use as benches. 
  • If this is the first time you’ve used your chimenea, build a small fire in it and let it burn completely before the party. This will season it and help eliminate residue from the manufacturing process. Read the directions that come with your model; the manufacturer may recommend burning more than one small fire to complete the process.
  • Keep a few throws or blankets nearby, in case the temperatures keep dropping as the evening goes on. Having a basket of extra mittens and scarves at hand is also a good idea, in case guests forget to bring their own.
  • Provide warm beverages for your get-together. Serve a variety of teas or coffees, cocoa, hot chocolate, and/or hot apple cider. Use long-handled camping forks for browning marshmallows over the fire.

Preview images: Shutterstock/Joy Stein

Top image: Shutterstock/Phil McDonald

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