Macy’s {Colorful} Birthday Parade – Part 3

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Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Here we go with PART 3 of my daughter Macy’s “First Birthday Parade”… I realize this last part of the recap is quite spread out from PART 1 and PART 2, but with the way things have been this year, at this point I’m actually just happy to get this up before she turns TWO! Especially since she will have a brand new little sibling to attend the party by the time the next birthday arrives. =)

This theme was chosen as a play on the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade… we just swapped out “Thanksgiving” for “Birthday”! You’ll find a recap of the indoor sweets table (pictured above), rainbow smash cake, food/drinks, activities, and a few more indoor decorations… Here goes:

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

My original vision for this table was to turn the dessert table into an entire street parade scene, complete with a “street” looking tablecloth (with the yellow dividers), a balloon backdrop, and marching animals holding treats. I got as far as renting a charcoal gray cloth for the table and made a few “buildings” for the backdrop, but wasn’t able to go all out with the “street parade table” like the vision I’d worked up in my head.

The clock was tick tick ticking away and I ran out of time…my imagination and Father Time just cannot ever seem to get on the same page! But I’m still happy with it and am fully aware that Macy didn’t know the difference of course. It’s more about the fact that I thought it would be so FUN to go all out with that vision. Next time… =)

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

The treats were simple and colorful… animal cookies, candy dots that we stapled into bracelets around the kids’ wrists, pixi sticks, meringue drop cookies, and homemade cupcakes.

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

The “buildings” that we did make were constructed from old shoe boxes wrapped in solid gift wrap from Target. I found a photograph of a window frame from and printed out a bunch of blank windows to glue to the “buildings”. I also printed a few more window frames out with images of Macy inserted into them so that it would look like she was “peeking out” from some of the building windows.

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

A “MACY’S” banner was added to one of the larger buildings to play on the store name… and the connection with the birthday party theme and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. =)

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

We made the cupcakes ourselves, using store bought mixes and Wilton’s concentrated gel Icing Colors to get the frosting nice and bright! Wondering about that cool silver cupcake tower? Another great Costco find!

I designed some themed toppers for the cupcakes, and we used the paper patterns that were incorporated throughout the party to make coordinating “cupcake wrappers”, which were wrapped around the standard white wrappers to dress them up.

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

I designed some individual letters to spell out “MACY’S BIRTHDAY PARADE” above the dessert table and across the fireplace mantle. For the dessert table I strung each word across it’s own ribbon (2 holes punched in each letter), and for the fireplace mantle the letters were each hung individually (one hole was punched at the top for the ribbon to slide through so they’d lay flat). Here’s how the fireplace turned out:

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

You can buy the Circus Birthday Parade Printables (in pink or blue!) with included “Birthday Parade” Letters. If you want to recreate this party at home you can purchase a separate “Happy Birthday” Banner + Custom Name Add On!

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

This party was a mix of both kids and adults. We had bubbles, glittered plastic sunglasses, mustache stickers, and face painting for the kids  ($80 for 1.5 hours of face painting and the kids were seriously ECSTATIC about it… that was fun to watch!). We also had Carnival photo props on sticks by Paper and Cake for both the kids AND the adults to enjoy!

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Each kid took a custom-wrapped bottle of bubbles home with them as part of their party favor.

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

The food & drinks were simple and “parade friendly”…hot dogs, kettle chips, individual servings of potato salad (pre-set with colorful forks!), my mother in law’s famous Cabbage Salad (with crunchy Ramen noodles and sesame-peanut dressing), and fruit salad.

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Water bottles and juice boxes were dressed up with bottle wraps for the kids. Adults enjoyed colorful bottles of IZZE natural sodas, regular sodas, beer, and Petite Petit Wine by Michael David Winery, which not only tastes great, but has an adorable elephant/circus themed label that coordinated way too perfectly with the theme!

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

We used a small 6″ cake pan to make the smash cake, colored the batter in various colors to make it RAINBOW style, and kept the icing white to really make the batter colors pop once you cut into the cake. I love how it turned out… Macy was a little timid with it at first… but that changed pretty quickly once she got a taste!

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade

Colorful & Modern First Birthday Parade


About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. Ebony May 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I’m just sooooo in love with this theme it HURTS! So perfect! I love love love the buildings and banners…. Just L-O-V-E!

    Sparkling Events & Designs, LLC.

  2. Marisol May 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    So adorable! Love the banners and beverage wrappers! Also congrats on your little one on the way! =)

  3. Shelly Norris May 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I just love this. Thanks for sharing your photos and ideas!

  4. Maureen Anders May 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Fabulous! I Just love it, Jenn!
    Those buildings turned out SUPER CUTE! Love the photos in the windows!!

  5. Melanie May 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I love all the parade decor. Love the bright colors! I especially love the rainbow cake! How did you put the food coloring in to make it that way?

  6. Aimee May 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Congratulations on your pregnacy! Many blessings for a happy and healthy one. Loved everything..specially the color scheme…

  7. Melissa May 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Love this party I was just checking back to it yesterday(looking for the flavored popcorn)soo cute!!!….and Congratulations and best wishes with your lil one on the way:)

  8. May 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    SUCH a cute color scheme!!! Love it! And I love the Dots too – I haven’t seen those in years! Yum!
    Star Hughes Living

  9. Tots and Plans May 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    love the bracelets! love it all!

  10. Amanda May 31, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Congratulations on baby number two… is it selfish that I hope you have a boy so we get to see even more boy parties, lol?!

  11. Melanie May 31, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Ohhhhh shmoobie cubie cutie bootie girlie wirley…I’ll stop now. But by willigers I am about to reach through my monitor and pinch that adorable little girl’s cheeks. Okay, now I really WILL stop…

    She’s as pretty as her cake, even before she put her face into it.

    Okay, NOW I’ll stop!

    Beautiful party ideas!

    Melanie at Theme a Party

  12. Nancy Pfeifer May 31, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Super congrats on baby #2!!!! How exciting!!! I think you are sooooo talented and creative!!! Love the banners and the little details, such as pom poms, etc… incredible!!

  13. bird May 31, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Bless!! So colorful and ADORABLE!! Macy looks like she had a blast! ;D

  14. Suzanne { SHE PAPERIE } May 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    I’m so thrilled you posted the rest of the details. You put so much thought and love into this, and it shows. Darling on every level Jenn!! And a BIG congrats to you and your family! I’m so happy for you!

  15. Andrea B. June 1, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Congrats on the upcoming arrival of your new little one!!! Gorgeous party, wonderful details! You are so talented!

  16. Al June 1, 2011 at 5:20 am

    What a lovely theme! The colors are fantastic, so much fun. The baby pics are adorable, she is really enjoying that sugary treat :)

  17. Michelle Knox June 1, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Absolutely beautiful party! LOVE the color scheme and the details are out of this world amazing! Love how you incorporated pictures throughout! So cute!

  18. Christine June 1, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Everything is just beautiful! Congrats to you and your family!

  19. adriana June 1, 2011 at 6:25 am

    What a beautiful party! And that baby is absolutely delicious! :)

  20.! June 1, 2011 at 6:42 am

    I want to eat little Macy…she is ADORABLE…and so is her party :)

  21. Laurie Gallamore June 1, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!!

    Gorgeous, gorgeous party! I love all of the bright colors and your little Macy is precious! Thank you for sharing the fun printables :)

  22. CreativeBusyHand June 1, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 5 post on Jun. 01, 2011. Thanks again.

  23. Kristin June 1, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Hello LOVE the details of this party and all the graphics. You did an awesome job. Congrats on your baby on the way!! I was wondering if you ever post the party with the yarn ice-cream cones (saw on your facebook page). I believe it was for a baby boy vintage party. I really wanted the DIY on the cones. Thanks so much!!

    • jenn s. June 1, 2011 at 8:24 am

      Hi Kristin –
      I actually never posted that one! Thanks for the reminder :) I’m out of town til Friday but will get to it early next week…

    • Kristin June 1, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Thanks so much…can’t wait!

  24. Julie June 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Wow Jenn, SO many cute details! Congratulations on baby #2!

  25. Kim June 6, 2011 at 4:20 am

    What an amazing party, and the photos are so beautiful! I love the different cupcake wraps and the cute little houses! And that cake, great idea!!
    BTW: congrats with your pregnancy!

  26. Jenn C. June 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Beautiful, Creative, Fun, and Colorful. All my favorite things. Thanks for the wonderful ideas. You are very talented.

  27. Terry Crowley June 11, 2011 at 8:53 am

    What a cute idea! What a lucky little girl! Everything just looks so perfect. Beautiful!

  28. Jessica June 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Jen, I love Macy’s birthday parade!!! I was wondering what is the name of the font you used for the birthday parade sign?

  29. Lorraine June 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Wow! Thank you, firstly for the inspiration, the downloads, the step-by-step guide, well … basically everything! My daughter wants a Circus theme party for her 6th in July and this has been sooooooo helpful!

    Also, congrats on the new addition to the family x

  30. Jennifer June 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you so much for the free printables! You’ve saved me a ton of work! My Ava is turning one in August, we’re doing a Circus theme.

  31. Brenda July 1, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Such a great party. I love all the colors!!
    I’d like to print the birthday boy sign, but is there a way to change it from saying “First Birthday” and add our own age instead?


  32. madeleine July 9, 2011 at 7:04 am

    This party is absolutely amazing! I am searching high and low and racking my brain trying to figure out where I can either purchase these adorable flag banner signs I am seeing all over the website or how to make them. Can you please tell me? I know they are custom but I don’t know what materials are being used and if the letters are printed or if they are stickers. Is this something I need a special software for on my computer or I would need to hire a custom print designer? Could you please fill me in? I would really appreciate it! I”m new to the business and trying to get started. Thank you!

  33. hina pasha July 15, 2011 at 12:38 am

    My goodness! I can’t tell you how super impressed I am! everything that you’ve created is so beautiful, so perfect:) my baby is turning one in september, and I’m going a bit mad trying to decide what sort of a party to have!
    Your work is inspirational! Though I don’t know if I’ll be able to use/copy;) any of your ideas, I HAD to tell you how wonderful it all looks!
    Bravo Mom!!!

    • jenn s. July 15, 2011 at 6:19 am

      Wow – thank you Hina! What a sweet comment to wake up to this morning! :)

  34. meagan July 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    hi! im doing a similar theme for my sons birthday at the end of the week, and i’d love to have the water bottle sleeve downloadable! i don’t think i could make that from photoshop from scratch, and i REALLY like it!! maybe you have that one too? please and thank you!!

    • jenn s. July 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Meagan –

      I posted the water bottle labels today! You can get them here {as well as a few other things}:

      Good luck with the party! :)

  35. Amy July 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you for this great post! I love the idea and I’m thoroughly impressed with your creativity! I would like to print off the birthday banner letters. I tried and it didn’t fit to my 81/2 by 11 paper. What is the trick? Thanks so much for your help!

    • jenn s. July 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Amy –
      The banner letters are actually set up to be printed on 11.x17 (Tabloid sized) paper – so you’ll need to have the file printed at a place like FedexOffice (Kinkos), Staples, etc. I printed mine out at Kinkos and the colors came out great. Saves your home printer’s ink supply too :)

  36. Tatiana July 26, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I absolutely love your design. I was wondering if you could provide us with the banner for “MACY’S” I was able to get the letters from the birthday parade download that i need for my daughter BUT… I need the *S for the ___’s birthday parade. Thanks so much!

    • jenn s. August 3, 2011 at 5:16 am

      Hi Tatiana –
      I just updated the Download Links section above to include that page with the ‘S – or you can also click here to download it. Sorry it took me a few days to get to it – good luck with the party! :)


    • Tatiana August 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Thank you so much!

  37. Rachel August 3, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Just wondering what the fonts were that you used? I’ve snagged a few of the free printables (THANKS!) and want to make a coordinated sign with my little one’s name. Thanks!!!

  38. Yeza August 10, 2011 at 2:00 am

    I love all the decorating desings !, I will use it for my daugter’s birthday. But I can’t find the CUPCAKES labels, they are wonderful!!!

    • jenn s. August 15, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Hi Yeza –
      You can download the cupcake toppers here: Good luck with the party! :)

  39. Chrissy August 10, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I Love this. I have been looking for printables for my lil girls 8th Birthday party. I wanted the colors to be pink, red and teal. This will work out wonderful. Where did you get the printable signs printed so large. My printer only does up to 8*10. Geat job and thanks so much!

    • jenn s. August 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Chrissy –
      You’ll need to take the file to a print shop that has 11×17 (Tabloid) paper. I usually use Fedex Office’s online printing system and then just pick the prints up when they’re ready, but you can also walk into a Fedex Office or use Staples, local print shops, etc :)

  40. Leanna September 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

    First you are amazing and oh so talented!! Second.. when you print to Fedex.. do you get this on card stock or what? And last.. how did you make those yarn poms??

    • jenn s. September 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks, Leanna! I usually ask for for the 80# or 100# laser paper (matte finish/not glossy) from Fedex unless I’m printing something like a napkin ring that needs to be really flexible.

      You can find a great tutorial on yarn poms here:

      Hope that helps! :)

  41. Emsmom September 26, 2011 at 7:47 am

    LOVE this party theme! We’re doing a Bavarian spin on the animal parade since the aqua quasi-reminded me of the Bavarian flag (it’s more royal blue, but parades and carnivals are so common in Germany, where I lived for 3 years). We’re doing bratwurst in brotchen (crusty rolls) with sauerkraut and apfelrotkohl (apple red cabbage), soft, warm pretzels hung on a mug tree that I painted white and wrapped with blue ribbon, and plum cake(pflaumenkuchen) for food. We’re serving hefeweizen beer, multicolored Jones soda, and perhaps even warm gluhwein if it’s chilly. We’re giving jars of plum jam (with hand-sewn felted plums on the labels) as favors. Our German neighbors had this massive plum tree that my dad & I used to pick plums from and make plum jam to give to our neighborhood in Lower Franconia. It’s so exciting to incorporate all of my favorite traditions into such a beautifully designed party theme. My daughter’s first birthday is going to be a hit. THanks for all the printables!

  42. amandadarcy September 26, 2011 at 7:57 am

    what program did you use to do all these designs and the napkin holders… its great!

  43. talia November 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I LOVE THIS PARTY!!!! LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT* Was wondering what the invitation looked like? I bet it was super cute just like the entire party :) Maybe I missed the invite in one of the three posts :( Either way I LOVE THE PARTY JENN<3

  44. Shelley November 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I abosolutely LOVE this theme! My daughters name is Macey! Could you send me the letters for ur daughter Macy? Saw the birthday banner so I will get the E that way, but I could use the Macy u made for ur daughter! Can’t wait to do this for her 1st birthday! How long did it take you to collect all of the items? Where did u find your white boxes and what boxes did you use for the New York buildings? =) Thank u soo much!!!

    • Shelley Sue November 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Have you downloaded the invitation! can’y wait to see it! What size pom pom maker did u use? =) Thank u for all of ur help!

      • jenn s. November 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm

        Hi Shelley –
        I used the 2.5″ Pom Maker by Clover. I never got around to the invitation! I actually have to recreate it in high res since I only sent it out digitally so the original version is just web resolution – It’s one of those things that keeps getting pushed aside and somehow months & months have gone by and I have no idea where they went! It will get done…….. eventually! ;)

    • jenn s. November 30, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      You can download the banner here:

      We actually made the building boxes from old shoe boxes I’d saved (sometimes 2 were pieced together to make them taller) – but you can also open/flatten larger cardboard boxes then cut and fold them into tall building shapes. Then just cover them with wrapping paper :)

      Honestly not 100% sure how long it took to collect all the items – but I really put most of the party together in the 2 days before! The poms did take the longest though because there were sooo many of them – we probably made over 100 – so that was a lot of hours. I recommend enlisting the help of a friend if you want to make a ton of them!

  45. Patricia January 5, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Hi Jen
    AWESOME details and thank you very much for access to the banners and labels. I am planning on doing a circus/carnival theme for my son Aiden, and I wanted to know if and how can one go about changing some of the colors (from pink to blue) from the banners and labels?
    Thank you so much and again, WOW.

    • jenn s. January 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Patricia –
      So glad you like the designs! I wish I had a really easy answer for you, but you really need a program like photoshop in order to alter any of the colors as well as a little graphic design experience – or access to a friend that owns photoshop and is a graphic designer :) The pdfs can be opened in photoshop and the colors can be altered that way… In a perfect world if I could find the extra time I’d make several different color options available myself, but unfortunately I haven’t been able find that “extra time” yet :0

  46. sc_8866f756b0cd40ada6d717cb529be4d6 January 7, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Hi Jenn, I made 1/2 a batch of your sugar cookies and the dough came out really sticky, is this the right consistency or am I doing something wrong?? Also the tops of them were puffy and splitting! My son wanted to cut shapes from these for fun and the dough is too sticky to do that! I was just planning on doing them round for Macey’s party!! Also what did you do for your cupcakes and the icing recipe for those? I am experimenting before making them for her actual party as I don’t generally do a ton of baking! I do have a convection oven, so does this make a difference on the temp and how they turn out? Thank you soooo much for all of your help!!!! (=

    • jenn s. January 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Shelley –
      Hmmm – the dough shouldn’t be overly sticky like you mentioned. I’d try adding a little more flour if that’s the case again – and also try using butter at room temperature instead of completely melted butter for the dough,and chill the dough for a few hours before baking. I always chill the dough for a couple hours if I’m going to cut shapes, and sometimes even if I’m just doing round cookies – so that should definitely help! Then, make sure to generously flour the surface that you’re going to roll the chilled dough out on – and flour the rolling pin too. The convection oven could also be making a difference as far as the “splitting” goes as well but I’m not sure what the temperature adjustment should be for a convection oven – so that might take a little research help from google :) Hope the next batch works for you – and good luck with the party! :)

  47. Becki D. January 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    You did such a gorgeous job with this party! Wow! And thank you so much for sharing all your printable photoshop work – you are awesome!

  48. heatherparisoe January 11, 2012 at 6:32 am

    We are doing a much smaller version of this party on Sunday for my Lyla’s 1st Birthday! I am so excited and happy to have found this idea. Thank you so so much for posting and for all the info and printables! You have a true talent!

  49. Stephanie February 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Hi! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m planning my son’s 4th birthday party and its going to be a superhero party with a street table and buildings similar to yours. Do you remember what “window frame” you chose from I want to make sure it will work and I loved what you did! Thanks!

  50. Holli April 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Love the party, super cute. But, where did you get your amazing boots?

    • jenn s. April 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

      Hi Holli – I think you’re referring to the boots on my friend Leslie :)

      Here’s what she says, “Interestingly enough I bought them at Macy’s! They are Madden Girl boots from Winter 2011.” ;)

  51. Patrice D. May 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Jenn, I am using part of this fabulous collection for my daughter’s upcoming birthday (I used other parts of it last year too!) I was wondering, did I miss the “drink” sign as a free printable? You are incredibly talented…LOVE your work!

    • jenn s. June 11, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Hi Patrice –
      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! For some reason a lot of legitimate messages have been getting caught in the spam catcher and I haven’t checked it in a while. Anyways, I realized you might have already had the party by now, but just in case, here’s a link to download the drink sign.

      And thank you so much for the sweet message! :)


  52. Brittany July 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Your decorations are to die for! You ar esooo talented! I am using your free printables for my daughter’s 1st birthday! Thank you so much for being so kind and giving these to us less creatively minded. You are awesome. I was wondering… Do you have the printables still handy that you used for the silverware and the cupcake toppers? I’d love to incorporate those as well. Thanks so much!!!!

    • jenn s. August 22, 2012 at 5:46 am

      Hi Brittany –

      I’m so sorry for the late reply! For some reason your comment got caught up in our spam catcher :0 Anyways, thank you so much for the sweet comments :) I’m not sure if you still need the cupcake toppers and napkin rings, but just in case, here you go! (click the links below to download)

      Good luck with your daughter’s first birthday – and congrats! :)

  53. Tamra August 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Do you have a free printable for the adorable cupcake picks?

    • jenn s. August 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Yep! You can download them here: :)

  54. nikki March 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    My daughter is named Macy, so I can’t tell you how happy this birthday party theme makes me!!! Thank you SO much for creating! LOVE THIS :)

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