My Life is a Circus!

Welcome to my circus!

Besides baking and cooking and blogging, I have a job creating decor, staging events  and entertaining folks who are celebrating every occasion you can imagine.  I LOVE celebrating birthdays, they are one of my favorite reasons to have a party.  Here’s what happens when it’s MY birthday, my 40th!

Because my life really is a circus, that is the theme I chose for my own party, a vintage circus.  Bringing together the many rings of my life for one evening, Cirque de Quarante (circus of forty) rolled into my backyard.  My vision was to make it appear that my friends, the gypsy circus that we are, had set up stage for an evening in my backyard.  And boy, the vision came to life in a way I could have never imagined.

There was a gluten-free and almost dairy-free dessert buffet.

All of my favorite veggies with hummus, popcorn and cotton candy.

Photo by Jill Schmidt

My favorite cocktail made with rum.

Photo by Bree Hester

Drinks served in mason jars.

Photo by Jill Schmidt

And then the fun really began…

A living statue greeted the guests as they entered the circus.

Photo by Kristen Syzmanski

Friends lit candles on the wish tree.  I believe the circus is powered by wishes and my friends sure brought energy to this one!

I kept the table decor simple, a lantern, peanuts in the shell and vintage Viewmasters with circus reels.  Several guests shared stories with me about their childhood Viewmaster collections.  I had one, too!

Photo by Bill & Christina Boda

The amazing Jeffrey served as ringmaster and kept the party rolling.

Friends Rod and Matt had everyone mesmerized with their fire-eating, walking on glass and freak show stunts.

Photo by Bree Hester
Mad Matt walking on glass!
Dawn stood on Rod as he was face-down in a bed of glass!
Photo by Kristen Syzmanski

Penelope, my fortune telling friend, busied herself shocking people with what she could tell reading their palms and cards. A few friends had life-affirming moments in the fortune teller tent!

Miss Conception pulled off some crazy magic with her hula hoops.  One guest told me Wham-O never imagined hula hoops being used the way she does!

The zany Richard Renner rounded out the evening with his vaudeville clown act.  I could watch him perform every day and still giggle.  His variety of fun speaks to everyone.

After my friends delighted all of us with their performances, I shared party favors, potatoes and potato guns.  Last year I was at dinner with 15 or so of my performer friends when the restaurant we were at gave us potato guns.  I’m still not sure what they were thinking but it was so much fun I wanted to see if it would play well with an audience comprised of folks from many walks of life.  I was so tickled with what happened.  An all-out-war, people who didn’t know each other engaged in potato battle.  Unattended potatoes were stolen, pellets of potato were launched at strangers-turned-friends.  It was a highlight of the evening for me to see my friends acting like kids, even the ones who don’t get paid to do that regularly.

Photo by Stacy Bolin
A fun fish eye photo by Jill Schmidt, Tiny T-Rex Arms

At 2 in the morning, as the last guests headed home, I realized there were fewer than a dozen cupcakes left, the cookies were all gone and a trickle of rum sat in one solitary bottle on the bar.  What remained were smiles…I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve smiled thinking about Cirque de Quarante, my vision of a circus.  It was everything I hoped it would be.

Here are a few party resources I’d like to share with you:

Dessert Buffet Recipes
Fauxstess Cupcakes
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes
Fluffer Nutter Butter Cookies
Chocolate Mice from Disney Family Fun
Hummingbird Cupcakes from Stefani at Cupcake Project
Peach Almond Bourbon Cake Push Pops
Nutella Oreo Cheesecake
Raw Vegan Cheesecake

Signature Cocktail
Shoo Fly Punch with Rum

Jeff Rosenblatt, Living Statue
Rod Sipe, Comedy.Magic.Fire
Miss Conception, coordinator of the KC Vibe Tribe
Penelope Marth, fortune teller
Richard Renner, Vodvill Entertainment
Jeffrey White, Ringmaster

Party Resources

The circus tent over the dessert buffet was made using a hula hoop, a stapler and plastic tablecloth rolls.  These instructions from Froggy Flip Flops give a basic idea on how this was created.

Paper straws, cupcake wrappers, Sweet! Baking Supply

Little Wooden spoons,  Shop Sweet Lulu

Potato Guns, Rhode Island Novelty

Food Signage, created from a printable by Cupcake Express

Party Decor

Paper Parasols from Paper Lantern Store

Custom Signage and Balloon Decor by Up, Up & Away!

Event Rentals from All Seasons

Burlap Peanut Bags from Jilly Bean Kids

Burlap Coffee Bean Bags used to upholster sofa from The Roasterie.

Vintage furniture, windows and accessories collected from the curbisde, at area thrift stores and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

The most important resource for this party was a group of talented and creative friends who worked behind the scenes to make the evening come together seamlessly. That’s the biggest tip I can share with you in planning a party, round up your besties and utilize the skills they most like to share.   In the years I’ve spent working in the special event business, I’ve seen some doozies of events thanks to my friends.  That they lent their talent and skills to my birthday means the world to me.  Thanks Sheila, Mark, Shelly, Largo, Janey, Samara, Renee and John.

And now back to the real world, my everyday circus.  The tent has disappeared, just as it appeared and my backyard looks a bit typical, no hula hooping, fire eating or potato gun fights to enjoy.  It sure was fun.  I hope you enjoyed reading about my birthday celebration!

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