I have been planning Holiday's County Fair birthday party since the day after her FIRST birthday! I had planned to use the theme for her 2nd birthday, but we ended up putting our house on the market at the beginning of August 2012 and had a full price offer within hours and bunked with my parents for a "few" months while we built our current home! I didn't want to subject them to my party planning craziness so we returned to a "normal" birthday party for birthday 3-- well, as normal as you can get with a mom who is a professional party planner!
As is my norm, I always start designing and styling around an item I love-- which happened to be this ADORABLE outfit from Momi Boutique that I purchased right after Holiday's first birthday. Fortunately for me, with the style and way that it is cut-- it has fit well from age 1 and it is still a favorite outfit in her closet!
I should preface this by saying that I'm from RURAL Pennsylvania where our county fairs are largely about farm animals and tractor pulls so it was really a County Fair/ Barnyard party... and it was fabulous!
My sweet friend Becky Siegrist designed these invites for me, the back is orange and white gingham. Needless to say, I was in LOVE. I need to also mention that all of the fabulous professional looking pics (since some of my iPhone pics are in the mix too) were all done by the lovely and SERIOUSLY talented Charis Pope of charisalexandra.com
So between the fabulous outfit and the amazing invitations, the tone of the party had been set...
Somewhere along the way, I became obsessed with horses and ponies-- it wasn't my intent with the party, but the horse silhouette just looked so cute on EVERYTHING!
I made these ribbons for all of the kids out of heavy paper and ribbon. They were GORGEOUS but a true labor of love. Days I tell you...days...
I bought a piece of pink foam board at Michael's and secured 4 strips of ribbon onto it and then pinned all of my ribbons on to it to create the display. The ideas was to use them for award ribbons for all of the carnival games-- but they looked WAY to cute in the entry on the favors table to move!
Anyone who has followed my work for any length of time, knows about my love of these felt animal masks by Mahalo! We had lots available for pictures at the photo booth and then each child got to select one to take home as part of their favor!
What can I say... I'm really into favors. The kids all got to take an adorable horse cookie home. Also made by my fabulous friend Mary Holmen from It's A Mary Cake! If you live in the DFW area, you need to add her to your shortlist for all of your cake and cookie needs!
I was really proud of how my makeshift cupcake stand turned out. It was a collaborative effort by my mom and I around midnight or so-- you know, after I got home from the ER from the severe allergic reaction to the PeiWei takeout my husband brought home a few hours earlier...but that's another story!
The bottom of the stand is a Martha Stewart cake stand. The other two layers are comprised of similar sized wood slices. The tiers in between the layers are birch pillar candles. We just cut some of the gingham paper napkins to add more color to the wood slices!
My dear friend Mary Holmen from It's A Mary Cake made the cake topper and little fondant farm animals. I have to take responsibility for the messed up cake on the top-- I pressed the topper down too hard and caused the smooshing/creasing. I baked so many of the cakes and desserts on the "Blue Ribbon Cakes and Pies" table, I took my invitation into the Target bakery and met with one of the bakers there and ordered the cupcakes and made sure to get precise colors of icing. My advice with ordering cakes and other special things for your party-- be as specific as you can possibly be when explaining what you want. Send pictures, take paint chips-- whatever you need to do to get the vision out of your head and into reality! Don't expect anyone else to read your mind! Even if what they created is totally fabulous-- if it isn't what you wanted, was expecting or envisioning-- you're likely going to be disappointed. I got the polka dot baking cups from The TomKat Studio. I just love, love, LOVE how it all turned out (aside from my smooshed topper cake)!
I haven't ordered party supplies from Oriental Trading in quite some time and I was SUPER impressed with their selection! The stripe/polka dot pennants were only $3 each and double sided. The center is comprised of 2 small paper fans/medallions (also ordered from Oriental Trading) and I cut out the horse silhouette on the Cricut along with the round center (Animal Kingdom Cricut Cartridge). I used a lot of the paper medallions in all different sizes going up my staircase since it's so visible from the front door. I did the same method on several of them where I stacked and hot glued them together.
We had quite a few people at the party, so I wanted to do food that was self serve and super easy for me. I rented this hot dog machine very inexpensively. It steamed the hot dogs and toasted the buns!
I ordered disposable pie pans (a huge case of 150) from a restaurant supply store. I made chili and ordered these adorable pint size ice cream containers decorated with adorable labels I made on my Cricut! The pie pans have proved to be quite useful with Holiday's projects-- we still have quite a few left!
Outside popcorn bar! The "Popcorn" logo was on the other side of the machine, but with the doors on the backside, I was sad that I didn't get the look of the popcorn machine I wanted. In retrospect, I should have moved the table away from the wall, turned the popcorn machine around and let the people serve themselves from the other side... hind sight is always 20/20 I suppose!
SO... we were pretty sure we were going to get rained out-- they were calling for a 70% chance of rain all during the party. I had a full back up plan to move the party inside, but we decided at the last minute that morning to take our chances and set up outside--it started raining 15 minutes after the party ended! Because I was working on moving the party inside (renting tents, etc) for three days beforehand, I never ordered the flowers I was planning on putting in buckets and vases down the table. So it was a total MISSED opportunity that will always haunt me!
Real goldfish seemed like a hassle, I found this little sorting set on Amazon-- Holiday still loves to play, sort and count them!
Pumpkin Ring Toss was my own original idea! It was actually a bit of a challenge and even the adults had a fun time participating!
Of course the REAL highlight of the party was all of the animals and PONY RIDES!!! Unfortunately, I think Holiday might expect ponies at every birthday party from now on! The animals all came from Coalson's Corral in Decatur, TX. The Coalsons were WONDERFUL to work with-- can't wait to book them again!
Of course when you have a Mama who is a party planner and project manager-- since we had ponies at the house, we had to do a quick wardrobe change for Christmas card pictures!
As always-- I hope this party gave you a little inspiration for your next shin-dig!