Sarah reminisces about our latest celebration…
As any parent knows, birthdays are big business. There’s the party bags, the games, the prizes, entertainment, the invites, the cake… The politics of who sits next to the birthday VIP – can siblings of those invited attend? It’s a veritable minefield and pretty much unavoidable when you have small children. Especially ones that are turning five. Well, the birthday party for our ‘ Country Child’ (as in our magazine) was no less fraught in the planning – we didn’t have to worry about who sat next to Jo or myself at least and were happy for any guests to bring someone, sibling or otherwise, but aside from that we pretty much contended with all the usual birthday sheninagans, all be it on a slightly larger scale, but we loved it!
We decided at the start of the year, that as this is our fifth year in business, we should mark the occasion somehow. Cue the brainstorm meetings (often accompanied with nibbles and wine). Should we do a garden party? Should it be for our loyal advertisers, some of which have never missed an issue in five years, all swanky and corporate? Should it be in a fete style, in a field with hook a duck and crockery smashing? Should it be an evening thing? A festival? The ideas flowed as quick as the Sauvignon, then we had it. We should throw a good old fashioned birthday party – it’s more ‘us’ than anything stuffy, we could invite readers and advertisers alike and it would be different to most other fetes, events and festivals around. Perfect. Another meeting with the lovely ladies from Belle Rose events to pick their brains and we were good to go, with just a tad more Sauvignon.
Once we’d set a theme and decided that we should play to our strengths and keep it family centric the planning side got easier. Giant pass the parcel? Done. Party bags? Sorted (jute with a family tree design, free fabric pen incl for you to personalise naturally). Cake? Oh yes. Cake on a grand scale. If we were looking for the ultimate in cakes then I think we found it. Not only did we plan for everyone to get a free piece of cake, well it’s not a birthday party if you don’t is it? But we had also run a cake competition in the run up for someone to design a cake to mark our birthday. This was won by the lovely Saffron from Semley, her rock band cake was amazing and as part of her prize we had the paper design made a reality,the result was astounding! Elizabeth Miles Cakes, created an amazing reconstruction, the drummer’s face, the singer and his mic on his knees – it was brilliant. Saffron seemed pleased with the outcome too…. But the baking bonuses didn’t end there. Remember I said a piece for everyone? Enter Heather from the Wonky Cake Company. She made us not one, not two, not three…. You get the idea… Five! Five unbelievable cakes. Caramel, chocolate, lime, strawberry velvet and raspberry. All to die for and all very well received by our esteemed guests. So far so good on the party tick list!
With workshops courtesy of some of our associates and advertisers – kudos here to Game Set and Match, Just Dance and stagecoach, we felt the entertainment angle was covered for the kids. We also had petting animals and reptiles provided by Carly at Animals in Education, bouncy castle, toddler soft play and giant slide from Jumperoo and the piece de resistance – a fairy grotto no less, beautifully set up by Forget Me Not Vintage Hire. Mix this with open mic sets, live music, a food court, the Belle Rose bar, fancy dress tent, photo booth, face painting, retail stalls and the afore mentioned party games – we had the makings of a party to remember.
So, a few weeks on, how are we feeling about the words ‘birthday party’? The feedback has been great, those that attended stayed a good few hours and were pleased that the majority of the activities were free. A good mix of readers and advertisers supported us and the fact that it was held at Clem’s shop in Fonthill Gifford meant that we got extra foot traffic – an added bonus. So, granted, none of us want to stuff a jute bag with goodies any time soon, nor do we have plans to stay up until 3am wrapping enormous pass the parcel in the foreseeable – but a good time was had by all, everyone had cake and fun, what more could you want from a birthday party?
See you next time!