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Fireworks display in Seattle in 2013. (Image: KOMO News)

Ditch the crowds: 3 ways to celebrate the 4th of July in style

If you don't feel like sipping cheap beer, downing hot dogs, or battling the crowds at Seafair this 4th of July, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in comfort and style.

1. Take a dinner cruise. You can hop aboard the Royal Argosy for a dinner cruise on Friday night. You'll get a 3-hour cruise, a 4-course meal, live music, and one of the best views of the fireworks around. The cruise will take you to Eagle Harbor where you'll be able to watch the Bainbridge Island Fireworks. This dinner cruise will cost $110.00 and seats are limited, so make your reservations soon if you're interested.

Here's a peak at the night's menu:

Seated Appetizer

  • Spicy Chilled Firecracker Prawns

Seated Salad

  • Gathered Greens Salad with Oregon Blue Cheese, apples, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, and a rosemary vinaigrette. Served with local breads, butter, and sea salt.

Buffet Selections

  • 5-spice Steelhead - with Chinese Black Bean Sauce and pickled ginger and radish

  • Chicken Tagine - with Cilantro Masala and Preserved Lemons

  • Chef Carved Flank Steak - with Black Bean Stew and Charred Tomato Salsa

  • Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

  • "Smashed" New Potatoes - with green onion and butter

  • Grilled Peaches - with prosciutto and mozzarella bocconcini

  • Mushroom Ravioli

  • Chilled Marinated Spring Vegetables

Seated Dessert

  • Chef's Selection of seasonal desserts served with coffee and tea

2. Visit a winery. Lots of Washington wineries are having special 4th of July celebrations this year. Here are three of my favorites:

Maryhill Winery. This family-owned winery is located at the southern tip of the Columbia Valley, near Goldendale, WA. They'll be celebrating all weekend long with live music, wine tastings, special menus, and games of bocce.

Chateau Ste. Michelle. A band will be playing live at Chateau Ste. Michelle during their Red, White, Blue, and Wine celebration. Wines will be for sale by the glass, with white wines for $8.00 and red wines for $10.00. Local artists will also be showcasing their paintings and photography.

Desert Wind Winery. You can enjoy a fabulous Farm to Fork dinner for $65.00, or save some cash and sit on the porch enjoying $10.00 flatbreads and other food and wine specials. There will be live music and no reservations are required.

3. Benefit the hungry. For $175.00 you can have a spectacular view of Seattle's fireworks from Westward's spot on Lake Union, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Food Lifeline. Dinner will include paella, sides, and snacks by Chef Zoi and the Westward team, along with beer, wine, or sangria by the beach. There will also be a DJ and "other surprises." The best part? Nautical attire is encouraged!

How are you going to spend the 4th? Let me know in the comments!