Friday, June 19, 2009

Cowboy Party - The Finale...Yee-Hah!

To give the party an Old West feel, I created signs using western-type font and printed them on aged-looking parchment paper. There are some great free font sites out there. I found some fun ones on this site.
I used twine to string the signs up around the party area. Welcome sign - Welcome to Lastname-ville, population: 3; the bridge - No Fishin'!; the food area - Chuck Wagon; restroom - Outhouse; drinks - Waterin' Hole. It was so easy to do and added a fun, Old West flair to the picnic area.

Games & Entertainment

The Band
Through a friend of a friend, we found a cute (and with 15 members, quite large) banjo band to play at our Cowboy Party. The band was made up of a bunch of music-loving retirees who love to perform. The music set a festive mood and was the perfect fit for our casual and laid back party. They played throughout lunch and thoroughly entertained the kids and adults alike. Who knew you could actually play a rubber chicken?

Lasso a Cactus
To make the lasso for the game, I wrapped a hula hoop with rope. It was a bit heavy, so definitely a game for the 4+ crowd. To make it look like a lasso, I left an extra few feet of rope so the kids could swing the hoop around. Each child tried to "lasso a cactus" by tossing the hoop over a large 6 foot inflatable cactus (Oriental Trading).

There's a Snake in My Boot!

Using an adult-sized cowboy boot (we used pink ones because they were on sale for $5 at Target) and vinyl somewhat realistic looking mini-snakes (Oriental Trading), the kids stood on a large rock and tried to drop the snakes into the boot one by one.

Pin the Badge on Sheriff "Smarty Pants"

I printed a poster-size picture of Smarty Pants in his Gymboree cowboy outfit and pasted it on a foam board. We covered the kids' eyes with a bandana, spun them around and they tried to stick a foam star badge in the correct place.

Wagon Rides

The little kids had a ball riding Smarty Pant's new Radioflyer wagon. It kept them busy and the older kids enjoyed pulling the little tikes around.

Photo Ops

As the guests arrived, they received a cowboy hat, bandana, moustaches, badges and other fun cowboy gear. For our backdrop, we rented 3 bales of straw from a local feed store. The park already had a rustic fence and tons of oak trees, so we didn't have to do much to make it look like the Old West.

Cowboy Trivia Game

To keep the adults busy, I created a cowboy trivia game. We live in an area where they filmed a lot of the old western movies and TV shows, so it was fun to pull together a "local" cowboy trivia game. The biggest winner & biggest loser won gift cards to the Claim Jumper restaurant.

Guess How Many Rattlesnake Eggs
This was an easy game to put together. I bought the ginormous container of jelly bellies from Costco and pasted a sign that read "Rattlesnake Eggs" over the manufacturer's label. Whomever guessed the correct amount of eggs won the entire container. By the way, we didn't actually open and count every jelly bean (wouldn't be too sanitary if we touched all of them!), but we guess-timated by calculating the serving size and number of servings in the container.

Favor Bags

I'm not a fan of throwaway favors-- seriously, why bother? I'd rather spend a little more money than know that cheap toys were thrown away after maybe 2 minutes of playtime, filling yet another landfill. We had a large age range so I tried to find favors that were age appropriate.

Babies - Wagon Wheels finger food snack, Cowprint Bib, melamine cup, plate & utensils.

Toddlers - Woody straw cup (Toy Story), Cow/Horse Baby Einstein puppet, Snack Trap, Earth's Best organic cookies.

Little Boys - Stuffed Woody (cowboy) from Toy Story, slingshots, m&m's (aka rattlesnake eggs)

Little Girls - Stuffed Bullseye (horse) or Jessie (cow girl) from Toy Story 2, a cowprint journal with flower pen, stickers, m&m's