A carnival simply would not be a carnival without fun games and prizes! For my boys, having game booths and prizes at their Vintage Carnival party was what they were most excited about. And when my sister, Mary, suggested a ping pong ball toss to win a real goldfish…they could not contain their excitement and had to tell all their friends before the invitations even went out! My family brainstormed ideas for all the games and narrowed it down to activities that would be easy and financially feasible to put together. We originally thought of a bounce house, magician and juggler and maybe even a ride of some sort (Aaron, my husband, even devised a plan for a super slip ‘n slide that he would construct utilizing the steep hill leading down to the park gazebo). But we had a budget to stick to and a limited amount of time allotted on the park use permit. So, we definitely had to reign in the ideas and stay practical.
Aaron did a great job of constructing inexpensive make-shift game booths out of sprayed painted pvc pipe, rebar stakes, kraft paper and rope. We borrowed tables and other equipment for the game booths from our neighbors, The Hadleys. And our friends, The Schvimmers, let us borrow their very nice wooden bean bag toss game. Aaron downloaded some old-fashioned calliope music to play during the party, which added to the the vintage carnival vibe. Many of our teenaged neighbors and family/friends volunteered to help run the booths and the kids had a blast winning tickets to trade in at the well-stocked prize booth. The face painting and balloon sculpting by the family team of Nichols Party Productions was INCREDIBLE! The artistry of Teri and her children, Alan (14) and Ashley (11) at the time, is AMAZING…the kids loved them and I was blown away by their talent and professionalism (11 year-old Ashley’s face painting skills put mine to shame)!
Thanks to the help of our awesome family, friends and neighbors, the party was a huge success…all the kids had a blast, and everyone left with a bag of prizes AND a pet goldfish. All the fantastic photos of the party were taken by my sister, Julie of Lot116 Photography (unedited shots), and our friend, Hughes of H3 Photography (vintage edit).
Scroll down for photos of the fun…here’s a list/description of all the entertainment at The Gaines Bros. Vintage Carnival:
- Ping-Pong Ball Goldfish Bowl Toss (glass bowls from Dollar Tree, ping pong balls from Walmart, goldfish purchased in bulk from Petco. My nephew, Tyan filled little ziplock bags with fish food for kids to take home with their new pets)
- Ring Toss (rings from Party City, 2 liter bottles of soda)
- Bean Bag Toss (borrowed from The Schvimmers, bean bags from Oriental Trading Company that were purchased years ago for another party)
- Knock Down Coffee Cans (Metal coffee cans, filled with beans, bean bags from Oriental Trading Company that were purchased years ago for another party)
- Basketball Toss (mini basketballs from Walmart, plastic baskets from Dollar Tree)
- Lollipop Tree (pegboard from Home Depot, painted with tree, lollipops stamped with red dot by Isaac)
- Spinner Wheel (borrowed from The Hadleys)
- Face Painting/Balloon Sculpting (Nichols Party Productions)
- Craft Station, Three Activities: 1. Decorate a Frame for photo booth photo, 2. Make a Top Hat, 3. Make a Mustache or Masquerade Mask (mat board frame inserts from Dollar Tree; glue, glitter, art supplies from our craft cabinet; collected toilet paper cardboard rolls, pre-punched black card stock circles; mustaches and masquerade masks printed out to color, wooden craft sticks, string, ribbon)
- Potato Sack Relay (burlap sacks from Oriental Trading Company)
- Prize Redemption Booth (assorted prizes and toys from Oriental Trading Company, Dollar Tree, Target $1 section, 99 Cents Store, teal baskets from Dollar Tree)
- Kissing Booth (indeed, we had a kissing booth set up, at Isaac’s request…he wanted to earn tickets for kisses, but soon forgot about it after the party started because he was having too much fun)