We love the crackle of open flame under the stars any time of year, but fall bonfires are special. Something about the flames mixed with cool air, good buddies and cold beer create the embodiment of a sensation we can only categorize as “ahhh.” It is our belief however, that one cannot just start a fire willy nilly and hope for the best, and with that in mind we would like to share some fervently held beliefs that will help make your next flame-based gathering a success.
BYOW (BRING YOUR OWN WOOD)
Much like bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party, bringing a pile of wood to a bonfire is simply considered the polite thing to do, and will go a long way to establishing you as a fellow of taste and distinction (extra points if you split the logs yourself). However, if you are hosting the bonfire, you should have far more wood than necessary. How much? A cord that looks like it could conceivably keep Valley Forge warm through the winter of 1777-78 should suffice.
HAVE A GOOD STORY READY
Remember when that tire flew towards your head at the stock car race? Or when Rick had “digestive issues” while competing in the fair’s pie-eating contest? Of course you do. And a bonfire is where these stories are best shared with a receptive audience. Be sure to rehearse; think about where dramatic pauses and humorous beats are best employed for maximum effect (like one of those Ted Talks, but with beer). And remember: telling a classic tale everyone has heard before is not only accepted, but insisted upon.
S'MORES ARE A MUST
Duke Cannon wields a marshmallow on a twig like a Jedi does a lightsaber—no scorching, and certainly no errant drops into the flame. This is not happenstance, but due to years of training in service of one goal; making the perfect S’more for his bonfire guests. This demanding field (more art than science) is notoriously difficult to master, but if you're really nice—or a youngster who shows promise—we might share some of our secrets.
NEVER GRAB JUST ONE BEER
A night of male bonding is no place to forget your manners. In other words, if you’re empty, you can bet someone else is too. You can ask out loud if someone needs a refill, or if you’re a bit slurry (it happens; no judgment), simply stand up, point at your bottle and cast a quizzical look around the fire with your eyebrows raised. Rest assured this time-honored pantomime will get immediate results.
BRUSH UP ON YOUR ASTRONOMY
We’re not saying you need to be ready to give Hipparchus a run for his drachma or anything, but you are going to be sitting under the stars for an extended period, and eventually you’re going to look up. And when you do, it might behoove you to be able to name some basic celestial bodies even a 5th grader could identify, rather than point and say, “Hey—I think I see the shape of a bunny right there.”
THERE'S NO CURFEW ON BONFIRE NIGHT
There’s something full circle about seeing the fire you built slowly dwindle down into a pile of glowing ash. Plus, staying up with your closest pals until the wee hours of the morning so you can glimpse that specific mix of blue and pink sky on the horizon is really what it’s all about. And don’t worry about waking Gary the Snore King—we’ll get him later this morning with the leaf blower.