The Party in the Park

Well, I survived the party in the park for Matilda’s 6th birthday!

In my last post, Things I Know About Birthday Parties, I discussed our fairly laid back plans for our party in the park and shared 4 ways to have a party when you are particularly time and cash poor:

1. Have the party at a park.

2. It is okay to buy supplies at discount shops.

3. You don’t have to put on a fancy lunch.

4. It’s all about having fun.

After the event, I have another sure-fire way to have a fun party without costing you the earth:

5. Ensure your party coincides with the grand opening of the park.

I nearly died when I realised the opening of the park was going to be the same day as Matilda’s party. I have mentioned before my dislike of crowds and queuing for stuff. Normally I would steer well clear of events like this but I inconveniently found out after the invitations had been issued, so there was no turning back.

All we could do was hope for the best and get there as early as possible to secure our spot for the day. Our preferred spot was a covered set of tables near the bike track where I had envisaged the adults could sit and converse and eat while safely watching the kids riding around the adjacent track.

We got to the park right on 9.30am. I estimate we got there about a minute too late. There was already a family laying claim to the tables we wanted to use. I did ask the woman whether she needed absolutely every table there but apparently they were having a big party and needed every single one. (I will note here that OUR party was bigger and lasted longer – so there, greedy table-hog lady!)

I just shrugged (okay, I may have complained in a passive-aggressive way about the greed of others…) and walked on hoping that we could find somewhere else to set up the party. We finally found a shaded table a bit further along and borrowed a tarp and a picnic blanket to set up “camp”, so to speak.

The party in full swing…

As we set up, we noticed someone else setting up near us – it turns out the local council had arranged for a magician to entertain the kids at the grand opening and he just happened to be setting up right next to us. Bonus! I started to be thankful for greedy table lady – without her greed we would not have known there would be a magician for the kids and certainly would not have set up right next to him!

So, kids started turning up, Matilda became loaded up with presents, food and drink were supplied and the party got cranking. At 10.30am the magician began his show and the kids were literally mesmerised for over half an hour. All the kids, except Gilbert, who has a history of not liking magicians and who, instead, spent some quality time with his grandparents (both sets were on hand for the day – lifesavers, each and every one of them!)

The only time all day that the kids sat still…

While the magician was working his magic (sorry for the pun!) my FIL discovered that there would be a free sausage sizzle for the kids. Double bonus! Once the magician had finished his show, we took the opportunity to sing happy birthday to Matilda and cut the cake before letting the kids loose on the free sausage sizzle.

I could not have planned this better if I had tried – actually, it’s a pity I can’t take any credit for it…

One of the highlights of the rest of the day was Gilbert taking on the might of the 3 storey high super slide – 3 times!

This is just a glimpse of the slide – it was so big I would not even consider sliding down it!

Another highlight (which also nearly brought me to tears) was watching Matilda play with her friends. At one point she had difficulty negotiating a climbing frame. Her friends encouraged her to move forward, and when she got into more difficulty, they helped her move back down.

It was wonderful to see them show so much care for her and even more wonderful to see Matilda not get too upset about not being able to make the climb. In that moment my hope for the party was realised – she had connected with her friends, if only for a short while. She had a fantastic time and seems to already have more confidence about returning to school tomorrow. Triple Bonus!

We ended up staying at the park for 4 hours – enough time to enjoy the sun (a little too much for me, judging from my sunburn!), for the kids to run themselves ragged and for us to declare the party a complete success. We’ll definitely consider holding more parties in the park (even if it doesn’t happen to coincide with free snags or a magician…)

Do you have a favourite birthday party venue? What’s the best party experience you’ve ever had?

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14 Responses

  1. Sara says:

    I am so happy for you and Matilda, great to hear everything went so well! 🙂

    And boy is that mighty huge slide or what! 😎
    Sara recently posted..Things I know about our first family holiday (little kids included)

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Sara, it really did go well. And that slide – I walked him up the first time but once he was right to go I walked all the way back down – no way I was going down that thing!!!!

  2. Trish says:

    Wow how fabulous did that party turn out with the bonus free SS and magician.
    Glad Matilda had a great time with friends .
    Ps That slide is hair raising my boys would love it …me not so much !
    Trish recently posted..Spin cycles , tariffs and things that blow.

    • Kirsty says:

      Trish, I honestly couldn’t have planned it better if I tried! It was a great day for Matilda, she absolutely loved it. Can I say, I walked Gilbert and his friends up the slide, made sure they got on okay and then made the long trek back down – there was no way I was going down on that thing!!!

  3. LizC says:

    It was an awesome day and you got so lucky with the beautiful weather too!

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks for coming Liz, it was a great day, far better than I imagined! Although the weather was perhaps a bit too awesome for me (I’m still burnt on my shoulders and neck – ouch!)

  4. FMIDK / Suze says:

    The party sounds fabulous. Sometimes it’s nice that the world smiles on you and the opening made the day better. All in all though, hats off to the great party co-ordinator.

    • Kirsty says:

      Oh, I would love to take credit for it all – it was the running joke of the day that I had organized everything there! It was one of those rare occasions where everything fell into place, and I’m so glad it did for Matilda’s sake (she’s still talking about how great a time she had.) As a parent you can’t ask for anything more than that!

  5. tiff says:

    Wow! sounds fabulous. We are gearing up for a double whammy 6th birthday party for Ivy and Noah at home. They’d better love it because they won’t get another big party for six years.
    tiff recently posted..Almost wordless Wednesday – superdog.

    • Kirsty says:

      Wow, a double birthday at home! I’m not sure I’d be putting my hand up for that one – I haven’t done a birthday at home yet (our house is way too small and beyond tidying for entertaining!) but I hope Noah and Ivy enjoy it (and you can get away without another one for 6 years!!!)

  6. We had a similar lucky coincidence for my younger son’s 5th birthday. We have small groups of friends over to play for most birthdays, but have a big party for 5th and 10th birthdays. When we realised that my younger, train-obsessed son’s 5th birthday fell on the same day that the miniature trains were running at Edgeworth, we simply organised to meet with family and friends at the trains, provided snacks and let the kids have fun on the trains for entertainment. We actually had trouble getting them to sit still long enough to sing Happy Birthday and blow out the candles on the cake. A perfect day and the easiest birthday party I have ever had to ‘organise’. 🙂
    Susan @ Living Upside Down recently posted..Do You Have One Dollar to Spare for a Child in Need?

    • Kirsty says:

      You couldn’t plan it if you tried, could you? I’m glad you had an equally great experience. I have never been to the trains at Edgeworth, but I might need to go there as my kids went on a train at a party recently out at Walka Water Works (near Matiland) and had a ball. Hopefully your son’s 10th birthday party will work out just as well when it rolls around!

  7. Maxabella says:

    Such luck! The council and you have made one of the most memorable parties. I’m so glad she had such a ball.

    That slide is amazeballs! x

    • Kirsty says:

      I wish I could take responsibility for the whole thing…but alas I cannot! It was awesome luck though, don’t know how I’m going to top that next year…will have to read up on your party planning posts to help me out!!!!

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