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Carney Love (A Retro Carnival) (45 photos)


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Party Description:
Our two oldest have birthdays that are only three days apart. So we have a combined birthday every year. Developing a theme that works for a boy and girl can be a little tricky. But this year we had no problems! Each year in early October, we take the kids to the county fair and have the most memorable and sweet times. Since these are some of our favorite memories, we decided to create a party that had a carnival feel. We (LuLu’s) designed a custom suite for our sweeties. We knew we wanted to stay away from the expected carnival/circus themes and color palettes that are floating around. So instead, we incorporated traditional carnival images of ferris wheels and pinwheels with muted and vintage-feeling colors and patterns, resulting in a retro, old state fair appeal that had our two hobbits and all of our guests falling in Carney Love.

After we developed the Carney Love suite, I knew that I wanted to find vintage pieces and unusual items that would make a statement on our tables and add pops of color. I ordered the antique Fisher-Price Carnival set and Jalopy the Clown on Etsy to set out next to our food. And perhaps one of my favorite finds was the hobo Patches the Clown cookie jar {that looked exactly like the Patches the Clown that performed the magic show for the kids at the party}. I also wanted something to feature the kids so my husband designed the amazing Sideshow Extraordinaire Poster that described our kids’ quirky traits perfectly and made a great keepsake! We also added a custom made striped fabric backdrop for a pop behind the food and draped handmade popcorn bag banners around the petting zoo. To complete the county-fair feel, we used hay bales throughout for seating.

In keeping with a carnival theme for the food, our guests had carney dogs and french fries followed by some state fair favorites: homemade caramel corn, prize-winning mini pies, and crunchy caramel apples.

The kids’ favorite part of the party was {of course} the entertainment! We had Fair Haven Farms bring out some small animals to create a mini petting zoo for the kids. And Patches the Clown put on a silly magic show where at the climax of the show, he pulled a kitten out of his hat for our daughter! And we couldn’t go without a funny photo booth! All in all it was such a sweet party that gave the birthday boy and girl {as well as all the guests} a good ole” carney time!


And of course as a mother, one of my favorite parts is creating the perfect look for the birthday girl and boy! I knew I wanted something retro and a little funky to make the kids stand out. So I contacted Anna of Amelie Jo Vintage Inspired Kids and she created the perfect custom dress with accents of the retro black and white stripes we used in the paperie. And because I wanted the boys to match, she also made matching bow ties for the birthday boy and dad! And Ashley of Punkee Monkee created the coolest houndstooth pants to top of the birthday boy look!


Party Design, Styling and Paperie by LuLu’s  (
Photography by Kendy Schimmel Photography (
Catering by Teri Lee’s Creations (local catering)
Plastic treat holders, striped “Stache” bags, tissue puffs, and oversized balloons by Shop Sweet LuLu (
Clown Party Straws and Hand Painted Clay Pie Toppers by Party Pop Pop (
Mini Petting Zoo by Fair Haven Farms (
Patches the Clown (local clown for hire)
Custom Birthday Girl Dress and matching birthday boy/dad bow ties by Amelie Jo Vintage Inspired Kids (
Birthday Boy Houndstooth Pants (
Photo Props by The Manic Moose (
Clown Noses, Glasses Disguises, and ticket rolls from Oriental Trading (
Custom Sewn Striped Fabric Backdrop by local seamstress Heather Chance (
Large Wooden Monkey from Slippin’ Southern (


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