Friday, August 29, 2014
a summer camp party
The first time we threw my aunt and uncle an anniversary party it was for their second anniversary. Apparently, I had voiced my distaste for how we celebrated their first anniversary, with a simple meal out at a Mexican restaurant. I thought we could do better. Don't ask me why everyone listened to the seven year old, but I'm so glad they did. Twenty years later, the anniversary party each summer has become one of our favorite family traditions.
The themes have varied over the years, but they have always been quite the production. When I was a little girl, this was quite literal. Anniversary parties not only included decor, costumes and a dinner, but also a show with singing and dancing performed by myself, my little sister and the neighbor girl next door. In recent years, the "shows" subsided, but the pomp remains.
Over the last few summers we have celebrated with Tango for Two, State Fair and James Bond Casino Night, but this year may go down as one of my favorites. Named for the happy couple, Camp Calabrese was a summer camp themed party. Yes, it will definitely go down as one of my all time favorites and not just because we had a teepee on the beach (built by my father, husband and brother-in-law)... ok, that was a huge part!
This grown up summer camp party was beachfront, casual, relaxing, and dog friendly (a big plus for our California family). To see some of the inspiration behind this gathering, you can check out my Summer Camp Party Pinterest Board for all kinds of fun party and gift ideas. We were going for a little Moonrise Kingdom, a little Wet Hot American Summer, and a little Parent Trap (Hayley Mills... not Lindsey Lohan, for the record).
Our "Bug Juice," was a refreshing watermelon, strawberry and mint infused water made by my kitchen-savvy little sister. We also served a classic sangria, root beer, beer and mixed up some s'more martinis in colorful little juice glasses complete with roasted marshmallows on skewers.
For attire, we made shirts for everyone with the "Camp Calabrese" emblem on the front and an assigned role on the back. For my aunt and uncle, the theme is always a surprise. We instructed them to keep their wardrobe casual and comfortable and had them change into their "Happy Campers" tees upon arrival.
I designed the emblem and titles with simple shapes in PicMonkey, printed them onto T-Shirt Transfers, and ironed them onto the shirts.
In keeping with our laid back vibe, we put together a hot dog bar. To make it special and add an activity, we handed out clip-boards with "build your own hot dog" menus to be filled out. That "Hot Stuff" one pictured above? That's what my 86 year old grandma named hers... love it!
Other activities including rousing games of horseshoes and checkers, friendship bracelet weaving, bubble blowing, reading (and maybe even a nap) for my grandpa, and hanging out in the teepee. And of course, no summer camp party could ever be complete without roasting marshmallows for s'mores. A perfect summer gathering!
So long sweet summer and Happy Labor Day Weekend to all!