Sunday, August 3, 2014

Family Carnival 2014 Part 1

Spin! Ring! Reel 'em in! Those are my simple expectations of a family carnival. But little girl guests often have others. And they are not afraid to express them!

A few years back, Tava was fully confident that she'd be bringing home a "live rabbit" from our inaugural event. This year, one of Bree's little posse from pre-school asked if a Ferris wheel would be among the attractions on grandma's front lawn! Bree herself had a much simpler vision. She declared she'd share her popcorn with Nana, her paternal grandma. "We are going to eat from the same bag!" she told me, eyes popping bright and blue with excitement. Now that expectation was a cinch to fulfill. And Tava did hop away happy with a cute stuffed bunny. But still wondering how to sneak a Ferris wheel into a residential neighborhood so that my goal of "everyone's a winner!" stays alive!

I do think we kept everybody spinning, ringing, smiling and happy this year, and I invite you now to join me as 26 lively little guests, their parents and a handful of grandparents enjoy 19 attractions at our third Family Carnival held July 26, 2014 at 5 PM at my home. Welcome along!

First stop. Ticket Booth. Party bags are collected here, tagged brightly with names of each guest. Tied to the handle are long strips of game tickets. One-page programs describe each attraction and include an invitation to pop inside the house any old time to grab a hot dog and chips snack.

Many of the games are repeats; favorites from the past. But they are new to the very youngest grandkids and to their friends who attended for the first time this year.

Little ladies again discover something fancy to wear at the "You Are So Pretty" booth. This year we offer butterfly visors and little pink jelly purses stuffed with neon bracelets, rings and nail polish for older girls.

The youngest princesses find fancy gossamer fairy wings. These Dollar Tree delights are embellished with silk flowers and a flourish of shiny tulle ribbon. So pretty! - and so are the little ladies who flutter about in them all evening long!

"Alien Invasion" is back for a third time. Popularity of the theme begged for an added game of skill, making it necessary to designate an "Area 51" to accommodate both of them.

Clear plastic eggs, home to creepy little glow-in-the-dark aliens floating in out-of-this-world slime are this year's prizes.

"Knock 'em Out!" Little boys lined up to bowl down silvery alien pins that not only light up, but emit weird outer space noises when they are struck with a purple plastic ball. Inflated mini aliens go home with every winner.

One of my personal favorites, also a repeat, is the Hamster Wheel - a carnival toy I covered and decorated to suit the theme. Kids take a spin and match their numbers. A box of "hamster food" in the form of cute candy accompanies their new little pocket pet!

When the darts you use are the sticky variety, even the youngest guests get a bang out of "bursting balloons" - and winning a brightly colored slinky for their efforts!

Ava and Angeline weren't born yet when "Goldfish Splash" made its debut, but the twins have no trouble putting their cute little heads together to figure out that flipping plastic fish into bowls is the way to earn a bubble wand.

Lots of ambiance from an endless stream of bubbles pumped from a hidden battery operated machine!

Our lovely youngest daughter, Karen, welcomes you to "Monkey Smackdown" during the early family preview hour. Full attention is given to grandkids during this time, freeing parents to become workers after everyone else arrives.

This game is one of the first I constructed three years ago when a family carnival was nothing more than a sketchbook full of ideas. Paper mache trees tower seven feet tall and sparkle brilliantly in the sun. Kids smack a pyramid of cans with plastic bananas to win monkey shaped squirt guns and crazy little neon stuffed gorillas. Two strings of these spunky characters, pinned up and frolicking on the trees, watch the action and wait to see who will choose them!

My attempt to fit a panoramic view of the entire carnival site into one photo frame was unsuccessful. And so was fitting the entire story into one blog post. Here's where you'll find the rest of this scene and lots, lots more of Family Carnival 2014!


  1. Joyce you must be the all-time-most-amazing grandmother ever.

    Furthermore I knew that you were breaking up the post but I thought that it would be over a period of days or a week...SO MUCH FUN to read ALL of it at once this morning!

    Looking at the yard pictures, one would assume that an entire organization such as a church or school had put this together not one person. Of course in the end you have your family helpers and I know that BREE did all of the baking, ha ha, but as to dreaming things up and creating them...that's all you, darlin'.

  2. Handsome and beautiful grandchildren plus gorgeous daughters - wow! Good genes. :-) So, you 'only' had 19 events for the kiddies. What a slacker you are. LOL All kidding aside, Joyce, you do the most amazing job with your 'family' carnival. Grandmas all over the country are reading this and bowing to your creativity. You really are the most creative grandma hands down. :-)

  3. Amazing! We knew it would be but wow! You really did out do yourself. Is it any wonder strangers came along and invited themselves? Judy is right it doesn't look like someone's family carnival -- it looks like a huge event put on by the community or something. Outstanding! Now I am on to read all the rest of the fun!

  4. I am flabbergasted - though I don't know why - this is all so much fun - and you are so so so very clever!!!

  5. Wow, wow, wow....just off to read the rest....I need to see more!

  6. What a wonderful event. I bet everyone loved the carnival. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  7. What an incredible grandmother you are, and what an amazing day this much have been!

  8. Gossamer wings! Aliens! Hello Kitty tattoos! Something for everyone and then some. :) What a beautiful, magical, memory-making Grandma you are, Joyce! You must write a book. :) Thank you for sharing this wonderful event with us at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned!

  9. Wow! Your carnival looks like a ton of fun! I want to visit the You Are So Pretty booth!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ The Submarine Sunday Link Party!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing with Adorned From Above's Link Party
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  11. Your carnival looks so much fun! I've only help set up school ones. This looks like the kids had a blast! Thanks for sharing @DearCreatives party. I'm pinning to my kids parties page. Theresa

  12. So cute! I use to throw little "carnivals" all the time when I was younger, but they were never this elaborate, haha :) I would love for you to share this post at my Create & Share Link Party! Hope to see you there :D

  13. This is AMAZING!!! I'm speechless with wonder! :-)