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Staff file photo / Nationwide, more than 830,000 first-time boaters are expected to be on the water this year after buying watercraft during the pandemic.

The long holiday weekend may be halfway over, but there's still plenty of fun to be had. Here are five things to know about the holiday.

(READ MORE: 36 places in the Chattanooga area to watch fireworks, celebrate July 4)

1. What are we eating? According to Google analytics compiled by time2play.com, cold sides and salads accounted for the most searches in the weeks leading up to July 4, 2021 (this year's numbers are not yet available). Potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw and deviled eggs led in combined searches in 22 states. Tops in Tennessee were deviled eggs (the same in four other states). Georgians searched for baked beans (along with seven other states), and Alabama was most interested in grilled corn (along with three other states and the District of Columbia). Other foods on the list were smoked brisket, smoked ribs, fried chicken, roasted potatoes, buffalo chicken dip and red, white and blue fruit pizza.

2. What are we spending? According to personal finance website WalletHub, Americans plan to spend $7.7 billion on Fourth of July food. Part of that amount will go toward the 150 million hot dogs Americans eat every Independence Day. The budget also calls for spending $1.4 billion on beer and wine for the holiday.

3. How are we recreating? Local lakes and rivers may be more crowded this year. The Water Sports Foundation reports that millions of boaters and paddlers (kayaks, SUPs) are expected to hit the water this Fourth of July weekend, including more than 830,000 first-time boat buyers who purchased watercraft during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) say trends indicate that many boaters with gas-powered engines are waiting until the holiday to hit the water because of the high price of fuel. "We are anticipating a tsunami of boaters like never before seen," said John Condon, vice president of towing services for BoatUS, which operates the nation's largest on-water towing fleet, TowBoatUS. "While trends showed a steep decline in our service calls for assistance since Memorial Day, our members are telling us that they're waiting until the July Fourth holiday weekend to take their boats out."

(READ MORE: Chattanooga-area fireworks sellers prepare for busy Independence Day)

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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / The 2021 finale of the Fourth of July fireworks show casts a blinding light in a ball field at Heritage Point Park in Dalton, Ga. Dalton is among a dozen area communities celebrating the holiday on Monday.

4. How are we celebrating? With fireworks — lots and lots of fireworks. The American Pyrotechnics Association estimates buyers will spend $2.3 billion on Fourth of July fireworks this year. Nationwide, prices are up 35%, according to the industry group, which reminds backyard revelers to select a safe location that is free of debris and has a flat, level surface. And spectators should be kept at a safe distance.

(READ MORE: How to safely use fireworks this Fourth of July)

5. How do we feel about the holiday? This quote from humorist Erma Bombeck pretty much sums it up:

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

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