After postponing the party due to the birthday boy having an unexpected hospital stay – remember this post – the Carnival finally came to town!
Oli and I probably started planning this party last year, directly after his Magic party – that’s how it works in our house – lots of forward planning! Oli immediately loved the idea of a Vintage Carnival party – with two stipulations – no clowns and he needed his very favourite magician there – Stevie and his Big Red Box of Magic. I hope this party brings you some inspiration! This is Oli’s last year at Pre-Primary, so we invited all his classmates to join in the celebrations.
The theme was such a fun one to create a party around. After deciding I wanted to add in some vintage elements, I decided on the colour scheme – red, white, turquoise with accents of gold for some pizazz. Creating height and levels out of vintage crates was an easy way to bring in the ‘vintage’ element.
Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be delving into each of the major suppliers highlighting the amazing companies I was privileged to work with but here’s a roundup of the party for you!
Venue – Set amongst the lush and picturesque surrounds of the Killarney Country Club, throwing the party here was a no-brainer. We set up outside the grandiose Gazebo Room (and could have moved inside should the weather have turned). With a well-equipped play area – a jungle gym and slide, a sandpit, roundabout and putt-putt course, the kids were never bored! KCC bent over backwards to accommodate my every whim (like arriving before 7am on the morning of the party to get the Slush machine going!) and graciously hosting Oli’s 6th birthday celebration and all of our guests. If you’re looking for a venue in Johannesburg, with a difference, this is it.
Photography – What a blessing it is to have a birthday party captured for you – otherwise I would have walked away with the one and only photo I took before I chatted to friends and family and got to enjoy the moment. My most favourite photographer, Corinna, from Corinna Tannian Photography was there to capture all the details and happy moments. Besides from being one of the nicest people I know, she is such fun, and extraordinarily talented. If you’re looking for a mini photography shoot for your party setup – chat to me, we’ve come up with some special and affordable photography packages. Corinna is your lady!
Cake – Cara, from Aristocakes, arrived to deliver the cake before the birthday boy arrived. When he walked up to have a look at his candy table, he immediately spotted the cake (how could you not miss four tiers of sugary perfection?!). His jaw dropped and he literally gasped, speechless. It’s exactly the kind of reaction you hope for once hours and hours of work have gone into baking and creating a masterpiece like this. Every detail right down to the little blonde-haired, brown-eyed magician was impeccable. Besides from being a piece of edible art, the ‘art’ tasted incredible – best chocolate cake! I cannot recommend Cara highly enough.
Candy table – We filled apothecary jars with red strawberry liquorice, turquoise chocolate beans, red jelly beans and whole peanuts all from Party Spot – the best one-stop party shop in Johannesburg. As always, we made my kids’ favourite party treat – red jellies – and adorned them with caramel popcorn. Easiest way to tie in a theme? Add iced sugar cookies! Allyson from Sprinkles made the cutest Carnival-themed cookies, from iced hotdogs, to ellies balancing on balls, popcorn boxes, tickets and Oli’s name, this disappeared faster than a magic act! We accented the table with a golden ferris wheel loaded with caramel popcorn, and flanked the four-tired masterpiece of a cake with golden elephants balancing on upturned popcorn barrels. I absolutely loved the red rock candy from Party Lady that we added to the table – their online shop has some amazing products! Vicky, from Bake My Day, made the most gorgeous cherry-red toffee apples and dipped Oreo’s with turquoise ‘frosting’ to look like mini ring doughnuts – how cute are they?! I absolutely adore doing candy stations at parties, I think having it as a focal point is the perfect way to accent a theme – but my biggest piece of advice is to have scoops on hand for the jars and take-home packets so you’re not left with mounds of sugary sweets and your guests can help themselves.
Catering – What’s a Carnival without hotdogs and cotton candy? For that matter – slushie drinks, soft giant pretzels and a popcorn bar! KCC served up some gourmet mini chicken and beef burgers to add to the spread, which we topped off with some airfried-on-site chicken pops that were gobbled up as fast as we could airfry them! How handy was it that I could bring along my Philips XXL Airfryer to whip up hot chicken pops just in time for some hungry guests?!
Water bottles – Once again I used Kidz Cardz for the customised water bottles. These ‘Carnival Quenchers’ were a hit with the busy little carnival attendees in between rounds of putt-putt, fun and games! Kidz Cardz also designed the fabulous personalised individual popcorn packets that went to school for Oli’s birthday ring (round two after the hospital stay) – there’s nothing Elizna can’t do!
Party packs – Where would I be without TOWER Kids? You might remember I used them for Sophie’s party too as the take home gift, and they were so popular, I used them again! We used a variety of five different elephant-themed educational art kits for each of the kids to take home – that ranged from sand art, to scratch and sticker, dot-a-picture, mosaic by numbers and foam art – happy kids and happy adults!
Décor – The first thing I thought of when we started planning this party was how much I needed a Carnival Cart! Sue and the team at ProDecor made all my dreams come true and delivered the most phenomenal cart, hay bales, giant red marquee arrow, crates, sign, and suitcase – making styling this party a cinch! The cart looked amazing with our fabulous black letter board from Curated South Africa – the perfect accent! I wanted to do the candy table up against the big black board as it’s a lovely shaded area (can’t have a melting cake and puddle-like jellies), but I wanted to create something of a backdrop. We, or rather my husband, devised a setup to suspend the striped red and white ‘curtains’ from the ceiling and hang the backdrop of fans I’d made, with a hint of black board peeking through creating a magical carnival-like effect. I bought various paper fans (some that had to come all the way from England with Grandpa and Ouma) and attached them onto plastic mesh fencing in a triangle formation, and adored them with glittering golden circles. The final result was quite striking I think – a great and relatively cheap space filler. With wooden crates and white plinths, I created various levels for focal points – the most important thing to know about setting up candy tables. An upturned crate became the perfect element to showcase deliciously sticky toffee apples on and house ‘O L I in marquee lights. I had a fabulous crushed red velvet table runner made by Bush Lily, as well as red and turquoise bunting to finish off the area. Golden lions on crates, red and white striped table runners, popcorn barrels and a pyramid of cans decorated the benches where the adults could relax.
Signage – Laura from Toogela Creative designed all the signage at the party – from the directional arrows and ‘Welcome to the Carnival’ to the Concession Stand, Step Right up for some Tasty Treats and Thanks for Poppin’ by and more! Toogela can do pretty much whatever your heart desires, so go check them out! Ambari did all the printing for me – vinyl mounted on board so that we can reuse the signage should anyone else need a Carnival party styled for them!
Activities – As per Oli’s stipulations, we just had to have a repeat performance by his all-time favourite magician, Stevie and his Big Red Box of Magic from The Wow Factory. Oli genuinely believes he can do magic by reciting Stevie’s magic words – “wiggle your fingers, wiggle your thumbs, that’s the way the magic comes”! The kids watched and whooped with rapt attention, hanging onto Stevie’s every word. If you’re looking for a magic act, Stevie is it! My fabulous friend Sam (from Sam and Tam link) generously lent us her jumping castle – always a hit at parties, thank you from the bottom of my heart, you’re always so willing to share and help where you can. Since it was a carnival, we just had to have some themed games – we made a pyramid out of big tins and had the kids knock them down with a bean bag and then a ring toss! There was also the fabulous Boom Blast Stix from Prima Toys that Oli was so thrilled to finally show his friends, and it had them in fits of giggles!
There are so many amazing people that I need to thank for helping me bring this party to life! Dyl, my phenomenal & amazing husband, thank you for your can-do attitude and helping bring all my dreams to fruition, and for supporting the madness even when our home looks like a warehouse! My Becks, for being my partner in all things party – for all your help, love, advice and support – I’m so excited for what’s to come. KCC – for going above and beyond on the day – Yanky, Tash and the fabulous wait staff, thank you! Aristocakes – Cara, I’d be lost without you and your incredible cake creations. To my friend and colleague, Gavin, for offering up your Sunday to cart around a party’s worth of décor and equipment and helping wherever we needed you, thank you so much! Corinna, for being my go-to photographer – your love, passion and energy is palpable through your lens. TOWER Kids for your genius and generous art kits – the best party pack idea, ever. Kiki, for making mountains of hotdogs and watching the kids so I can could prepare the party. Laura and Cath – thank you for jumping in and designing a million things for me literally overnight. Preven, for making all my printing dreams come true! The ProDecor team for your amazing props, tying the entire party together. Stefan (aka Stevie) – Oli would never have wanted this party without you being there – you are truly phenomenal. Last but not least, all our family and friends for making the party a celebration – thank you for all your love and friendship, Oli so appreciated every single one of you who came to his belated birthday, thank you.
List of suppliers/stockists:
Venue – Killarney Country Club www.killarneycountryclub.co.za
Cake – Aristocakes – Cara Brynard
Magician – The Wow Factory
Photography – Corinna Tannian Photography
Balloons – Party Spot
Sugar Cookies – Sprinkles
Toffee Apples & Dipped Oreos – Bake My Day
Catering – Killarney Country Club and Fournos Bakery
Party packs – TOWER Kids
Water bottles & personalised popcorn packets for class party – Kidz Cardz
Jumping Castle – Lopes Bouncy House: firstname.lastname@example.org
Black Letterboard – Curated South Africa
Design elements – Toogela Creative
Printing – Ambari: Preven email@example.com or 083 381 7470
XXL Airfryer – Philips Home South Africa
Let me know if there’s something you see that I haven’t covered and I’ll happily share where I sourced it from!