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Popular Parties: How kids celebrate in Fayetteville

               In recent years, children’s birthday parties have taken on a level of detail that outshines the home-baked cake and family party around the kitchen table. Luckily, many Fayetteville-area venues offer a great kid’s party. With a little creativity, even a non-traditional venue can create a party for the ages.

Who: Hannah Ross

When: Afternoon

Where: The Little Gym of Fayetteville

                Hannah turned five in the height of Disney’s Frozen fever, and her mom, Kellie, incorporated the theme into decorations, snacks and much to the delight of 15 attendees, two special guests, Anna and Elsa. The venue allowed guests to run and jump and play in a supervised environment for the first 45 minutes of the party, while Kellie chose to customize the last half of the party.

                After playing in the gym, guests were ushered into the party room. Anna and Elsa arrived quietly and Kellie took Hannah out into the lobby to meet them. Kellie’s favorite memory of the party came next, when Hannah got the exciting job of running to the party room to tell all of her friends that, “The real Anna and Elsa are here!” Squeals of excitement and laughter lasted the remaining half of the party, while Anna and Elsa took photos with the girls, gave them stickers, led a Frozen sing-a-long and read them a book.

                “I am capitalizing on the fact that she totally believes. This party was a celebration of belief. I am truly trying to squeeze as much of that out of her childhood as I can. It’s gone before you know it,” said Kellie.

                It comes as no surprise that this wasn’t Hannah’s first exciting party and that Kellie has the planning down to a science. After a big 1st birthday bash and a luau for her 2nd, Hannah’s 3rd birthday was also at The Little Gym. Mickey Mouse made a special appearance. “You know, you can’t buy a real Mickey Mouse costume because of copyright infringement. I bought one on Amazon that looked a lot like him. I named him Ricky Mouse. I donated it to Let it Shine Celebrations after Hannah’s party,” laughed Kellie.

                Best Day Ever Parties and Events, an event company in Knightdale, NC, provided the princesses. Kellie saw the characters at the Happenin’ in Haymount “Frozen in the Park” event at General Lee Park.

                Kellie’s best party tip: “Find someone else to take pictures. Trade off with a friend. I love having lots of pictures, but you miss all the fun. Now, if I’m going to a birthday party of a friend’s child, I take my camera. If you’re a slave to recording it, you’ll miss it.”

PULL QUOTE: Round-A-Bout Skating Centers offer Frozen parties and will also host any theme party of your choosing for your children and their friends! Check them out at www.round-a-bout.com.

Golf Party

Who: Wilson Harrell

When: Afternoon

Where: Highland Country Club

                When Amanda Harrell began planning Wilson’s 6th birthday party last fall, he was taking golf lessons at Highland… and loving them. A forgone conclusion, Amanda decided to do a golf-themed party at the club. Twenty-four of Wilson’s best buddies attended and they were treated to cupcakes, ice cream, popcorn, lemonade, golf-cart rides and instructional time with the Highland pros. “I just wanted to do something different. All the parents do such great parties,” said Amanda. In the past, Wilson and his little sister, Stuart, have attended various pool and tea parties at Highland.

                After cake and ice cream, the kids were whisked away on golf carts to the chipping green nearby. Parents got to relax, socialize and sip lemonade on the veranda, all within view of their children. Of the unique structure of the party, Amanda said, “I thought it was so nice that parents were able to see their children, but enjoy the company at the same time.”

                On the green, kids were learning to putt and hit a ball into a crocodile’s mouth. After 45 minutes on the green, the guests rode back to the clubhouse. Their parting gift was a golf ball cup with a note which cleverly read, “Thanks for coming to my par-tee!”

                While Amanda counts the golf party among the most involved she has planned for her children, she has thrown a “fireman” party, where firemen gave a tour of their fire engine, a spa and makeover party for four-year-old girls, a bouncy house party at Omni Health & Fitness Center and a park party at Honeycutt Park.  

                Amanda’s tip: A few days after the party, guests received thank-you texts via a Red Stamp app. “Rather than writing all of the notes myself, without Wilson’s involvement, we were able to sit down together and personalize each message,” said Amanda.

Hotel Slumber Party

Who: Zaire Lovelace

When: 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Where: Local hotel

                When Zaire decided she wanted a slumber party for her birthday, her mom, Tammy, had an immediate solution: a local hotel. There, they would have access to a pool, a suite to entertain and plenty of space for the girls to spend the night.

                “Initially, I considered a party in the banquet room of a hotel, with character visits for boys and girls, but the banquet fees were too expensive per child. Kids don’t eat very much at parties. We decided to limit it to a girls-only sleepover, with swimming and entertainment from Anna and Elsa,” said Tammy.

                From 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., the girls played in the pool. Then, they enjoyed pizza and cake in the suite, both of which Tammy supplied. After dinner, the princesses arrived and entertained for a full hour, which included a book reading, makeovers and nail polish for all of the girls. After the princesses left, they played traditional party games with a thematic twist, like Pin the Tail on Olaf the Snowman, and had a pull-string piñata. “After it got dark, I gave them glow sticks to play with. We lucked out because princess movies were playing in rotation on TV. The last girl went to sleep at 2:00 a.m.,” laughed Tammy.

                The next morning, after a raucous balloon fight and breakfast, parents arrived around 11:00 a.m.

                All of the decorations came from Party City, which were very affordable and easy to dispose of the next day. “Each piece of princess décor was less than $5,” said Tammy.

              &nb sp; Tammy’s party-planning tips: “If you are planning a party at a location that isn’t traditionally known for children’s birthday parties, call ahead to confirm exactly what you’ll be doing.” While Tammy was allowed to proceed with the party, hotel management made it very clear that if they received a noise complaint from other guests, the party would have to end.

                Wishes and Wands, an event company based in Raleigh, provided the princess entertainment. They offer packages with princesses, superheroes and other characters.