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Vintage Carnival

Vintage Carnival

This Vintage Carnival themed party celebrating my sons’ 7th and 5th birthdays was, without a doubt, my favorite to date. With its timeless theme, festive color scheme, classic games and fun prizes…this party was my ultimate “awesome birthday party” and will be a tough one to top. I dreamed of having my own carnival party when I was a kid, and I’ve always loved the vintage circus theme…so this party was (almost) as much for me, as it was for my kids. Oh, who am I kidding…I was probably more into it (ahem, obsessed) than anyone else! I really enjoyed planning this party, especially creating the details that would bring my vision to life. I won’t lie, it was A TON of work and I probably did a lot of things that no one really noticed..but it was what I imagined for the carnival party of my dreams, and I wanted to make it happen. Combining my boys’ birthdays into one party gave me a little more time to focus on the things I wanted to incorporate. And since I was doing one big party instead of two separate ones with different themes, it meant that I could pool the two budgets and spend a little more than I normally would for one party. With the help of my usual “dream team” of family and friends, we pulled off a spectacular party, making almost everything ourselves and not going any crazier cost-wise than we would have if there were two separate parties. Everyone, little kids and big kids alike, had a magnificent time and it was truly an awesome birthday party! There are simply too many elements to share in just one blog post (and since I tend to write way too much and use lots of pictures), I’ve broken it up by category…just click on a photo below to get all the details. 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). So, step right up,  and enjoy a good ol’ fashioned vintage carnival of awesome proportions…...

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Vintage Carnival – The Sweet Shoppe

Vintage Carnival – The Sweet Shoppe

Candy buffets and dessert tables seem to be standard at every birthday party, shower or wedding these days. I’ve seen my share of them at the amazing weddings I’ve worked and everyone loves a good candy buffet. They are always a hit and it’s nice to take home a little bag of sweets to enjoy later. A lot of sugary treats were already planned for The Gaines Bros. Vintage Carnival, but a candy buffet was a still a must for my boys’ party! So after loading kids up with cotton candy, sweet tea, cupcakes, etc…we sent them home with bags of candy, just two weeks before Halloween. Sorry, Parents!!! I should point out that just as many “big kids” filled up treat bags as “little kids”…and we did not have any leftover candy after the party. The Gaines Bros. “Good Old-Fashioned Sweet Shoppe” was set up with glass containers from Walmart; tiered trays made from glue-gunned silver platters and plastic cups from Dollar Tree; cookie jars borrowed from my sister, Julie; gum ball machines from the 99 Cents Store and some borrowed from my sister, Mary; and striped paper ribbon from Paper Mart. We chose classic candies that would go with the vintage theme (Salt Water Taffy, Good & Plenty, Red Vines, Jelly Belly, Bit ‘O Honey, Smarties, Butterscotch, Spice Drops, Cherry Slices), and my boys’ favorites: Ginger Snaps and their daddy’s homemade Salted Butter Caramels (each painstakingly cut and hand-wrapped by Nana Sue). Love Paper Paint created coordinating custom tags and signs for each item, a hand-cut “Sweet Shoppe” pennant banner, as well as labels for the bags. 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). Our friends, Jenny and Cho, helped set up the candy buffet while I scrambled to get ready for the...

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Vintage Carnival – The Entertainment

Vintage Carnival – The Entertainment

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...

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Vintage Carnival – The Treats

Vintage Carnival – The Treats

Popcorn, cotton candy, corn dogs, nachos, sweet treats and junk food – that’s what comes to mind when I think of “carnival food”…so that’s exactly what we served at The Gaines Bros. Vintage Carnival Party! Scroll down for photos and descriptions of all the delicious snacks, treats, and birthday cupcakes offered. 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). Popcorn and cotton candy machines were rented through Nichols Party Productions. They provided the rentals, supplies, as well as delivery, popcorn and cotton candy service throughout the party, and clean up. They are a family run business and are wonderful to work with…I’ve recommended them to many of my friends and clients. They took care of everything and the classic carnival treats were an absolute hit. Old-fashioned homemade sweet tea and lemonade in large mason jar dispensers, from Cost Plus World Market, hit the spot on a warm October afternoon. Coordinating hand-cut signs by Love Paper Paint. Hot and spicy nachos, mini corn dogs, fruit, chips, cheese balls, and animal crackers were some of the things prepped by Nana Sue in our kitchen at home and delivered to the park by our friends, Allison and Makala. We borrowed chaffing dishes from our neighbors, The Wellongs, to keep the mini corn dogs hot. Nana also made her famous Tamari Almonds and my special Chocolate Dipped Bacon, at our request. Plastic popcorn bins and silver trays from Dollar Tree, and red hot dog baskets from the $1 section at Target were perfect containers for holding all the food. BTW, I also had funnel cake mix, oil and a deep fryer to make fresh funnel cake…and two dozen mini blueberry and cherry pies for a down-home pie-eating contest…but with everything else going on and all the junk there was to eat, we never got around to those treats. We ate mini pies with our morning coffee for a week and enjoyed fresh funnel cake at many of our family dinners afterwards, so it was not a total loss. 😉 The ever amazing birthday cupcakes were made (as all our event cakes are) by our dear friend, Jeff of Rhino Cake Company. Three flavors of scrumptious cupcakes, some decorated to look like ice cream cones and others with custom printed edible cameos of the Gaines Bros., were presented on a tiered cake stand on the candy buffet. The salted caramel popcorn topped chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, and old-fashioned vanilla cupcakes were beyond delicious and perfectly suited the theme of the party. We LOVE Jeff…he’s the...

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Vintage Carnival – The Photo Booth

Vintage Carnival – The Photo Booth

Who doesn’t love a PHOTO BOOTH! They are so much FUN!!!  For the MARVELOUS Gaines Bros. Vintage Carnival Party, a painted drop cloth used as party decor created a delightful backdrop for our version of a photo booth. And since my boys enjoy dressing up for their themed parties, a chance to be silly in their carnival costumes made a photo booth a must. Mason wanted to be The Ringmaster and Isaac chose The Strong Man character. With Halloween around the corner, I was able to find an awesome vampire costume at Marshalls for under $20, that was easily modified to look like a vintage Ringmaster suit (just by adding a top hat and bow tie, omitting the fangs). My sister, Julie, came up with the terrific idea to turn a striped men’s polo shirt from Walmart (found on clearance for $3) into a Strongman unitard for Isaac. I don’t sew, so I waited until Nana Sue came into town and tasked her with cutting and sewing. Isaac loved it! My husband, Aaron, made a barbell prop by tying two black balloons onto the ends of a piece of flexible rubber heater hose. We figured with his hair parted down the middle and a painted on handle-bar mustache, Isaac would look the part of a vintage circus Strongman. With assorted hats, wigs and accessories from the boys’ costume trunk, as well as some Halloween items purchased from the 99 Cents Store and Dollar Tree, we had a nice selection of photo booth props. I displayed them near the backdrop in my vintage red suitcase with a hand-lettered chalkboard sign and a snazzy red velvet rope barrier borrowed from our neighbors, The Hadleys. Our friend Jenny’s cousin, Hughes Hoang of H3 Photography, generously offered to help my photog sister (Julie of Lot116 Photography) out by photographing guests at the photo booth. He was great and such a huge help. He even dressed to match the party with suspenders and an old fashioned driver’s cap (or flat cap). Hughes is awesome! So, without further ado, here are some of the fabulously fun photo booth shots from The Gaines Bros. Vintage Carnival Party….enjoy!...

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