Guide to Portland Park Party Planning

Portland Park events

If you are hosting a corporate picnic, public event, or children’s birthday party at a Portland Park, there are a few things you need to know prior to showing up on the day of your event. Portland parks and recreation department has many rules, restrictions, and fees to consider when you start the event planning process.  Make sure you understand all of the following requirements and restrictions before sending out invites to your guests!

Reservations

The first thing to check when you start planning your Portland park party is if the site you want is available. The Portland Parks & Rec website has an online reservation tool that can be used for both parks and other venues owned by the department.  In addition to being able to see what parks and venues are available, you’ll be able to access tools like maps, venue descriptions, and maximum capacities.  With Portland’s vast inventory of parks and venues, you should be able to find a location that fits your party, even if your primary choice isn’t available. As always, the earlier you start planning your event, the more options you will have.

Fees

There are a several different park fees that you should know going into the planning process. Parks are expensive to maintain, and there is additional liability the city takes on by letting you host a party at a Portland Park. The fees can vary by park location and what type of event you are hosting, but here is the basic rundown,

  • Park Site Reservation Fee: Starts at $21 for simple parties (like a birthday party) but can go much higher depending on the park and amount of space being requested
  • $100 Special Use Fee: If you are planning on your party being more than a simple barbecue, you can count on a special use fee. This is a fee that they will charge you for pretty much anything beyond the simplest of parties.
  • $176 Inflatable Usage Fee: If you are planning on having an inflatable or bounce house at your event, be prepared to pay the City of Portland $176 for each inflatable you have at the park.  This can get pretty pricey depending on how many inflatables you have, so make sure you prepare your event budget accordingly.
  • $66 Vehicle Access Pass: If you have any vehicles or event vendors that need to access the event location, each vehicle will need to have a $66 vehicle access pass. Again, if you have several vendors or a lot of equipment to be brought in, make sure you schedule these costs accordingly in your event budget.

Event Liability Insurance

For any event requiring the use of inflatables, bounce houses, or other specialty equipment, Portland Parks require that you carry a $1 million umbrella insurance policy and list the City of Portland as an additional insured on the policy. This is a simple enough task as long as you select a reputable event rental company.   Most established and licensed rental companies will far exceed the $1 million insured requirement.

Event Layout and Maps

Often there can be gas pipes, electrical, and sewage running beneath park sites. To avoid surprises on event day, send the parks department a layout map of your event ahead of time. The more detail your map has the better. This way, if there is an issue, the parks department will let you know ahead of time what needs to be moved. If you leave this detail to fate, you run the risk of a Park Supervisor telling you to move or shutdown an inflatable ride or bounce house on the day of the event.

Event Hours

Most Portland Parks are officially open from 8am to 9pm. Uless you do something about it, your event will need to end by 9pm.  Failing to evacuate the park by 9pm may result in a Park Supervisor asking you and your guests to leave at the peak of your celebration. To avoid this party pooper outcome, schedule your event earlier in the evening, or work with the parks department to request an exception to their traditional closure rules.

Alcohol at your Event

If you are planning on having alcohol at your event in a Portland park, the city actually has some pretty reasonable rules in this department. If your event is less than 50 people and everyone is bringing their own alcohol, you do not need to do anything. If your event has more than 50 people and/or the alcohol is being served or provided by a single entity, then you will be required to provide proof of insurance to the parks department.

 

If all of this is confusing in anyway, you can always consult the Portland Parks and Rec picnic guide or just give them a call with any questions you might have. We have found the representatives to be extremely helpful and knowledgeable in our conversations.  As long as you follow this simple guide and Portland Park rules and guidelines, you should have a successful event to add to the books!

 

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Mechanical Bull: Rental Item of the Week

A bull with gigantic horns grazing in a field

Welcome to Rental item of the week, where every Thursday Bouncer Rental NW highlights pros and cons of a different rental item. We provide an in-depth review and suggestions on how to incorporate the rental into your next event. Our goal is to inspire event planners to be creatively bold and move outside the normal event scope. 

Mechanical Bulls have been around since the early 1930s and have been the center piece of thousands of events. They were wildly popularized in 1980 after receiving attention in a movie called Urban Cowboy. Since that time, they have become a staple of the rental industry and there have been several companies born that specialize at renting mechanical bulls. While a mechanical bull can be an awesome addition to just about any party, there are several things to take into consideration such as guest age, theme, and most importantly safety. No party that ends in injury can be deemed a success, so let’s cover some of the basics of this rental.

Insured amusement operators are always posted by our state and updated on a regular basis. (Our insurance is listed under the name Clowns Unlimited). The importance of insurance is two-fold; of course in the case of an accident you want any accident to be taken care of, but an insured company shows that they have gone through a rigorous inspection process to make sure that all of their equipment is in great condition and has no dangerous faults. Rental equipment can be used and abused as it goes to thousands of event.  Companies that regularly get inspected and insured are vigilant with their maintenance and repairs so that there is never an accident. There are two types of mechanical bulls, ones that use large hydraulics, and ones that are more carefully controlled by an electric panel. We opt to rent mechanical bulls that also have a large inflatable cushion surrounding the actual bull. The inflatable pad includes side walls that raise up a couple feet so that when participants are thrown from the bull they do not land on the ground. Safe equipment is not the only thing to take into consideration with your bull experience. A trained mechanical operator is just as important to ensuring a safe, fun experience for all guests. Before booking your mechanical bull with your local event planner, check that their equipment has all of these key safety features.

So now that you’ve decided to host the bull at your next event, what sort of parties can you host that make sense for your choice of entertainment?  The obvious option is a Western Party. They can be some of the easiest parties to theme. Hay bales are cheap, and most guests can come up with jeans, plaid, and a cowboy hat. To make your event more fun (and get out of hosting catering!), include a chili cook off. This can be a great way for your employees, neighbors, or friends to show off their skills in the kitchen and earn bragging rights until next years cook off.

If your event isn’t during a prime ‘cowboy season’ and you are looking for alternatives, the mechanical bull can be transformed into an awesome surfboard or snowboard arena. These extreme sports options create a different kind of challenge than your traditional Mechanical Bull experience, but can also bring a new creative edge to your summer luau or winter solstice events.

Just putting a mechanical bull at your event sometimes isn’t enough. Often, adult guests think they are too old to participate in fun and games. The truth is, this equipment is really designed for participants ages 10 and up, and watching adults ride the bull is much more entertaining than a 12 year old. To get your coworkers and friends to ride the bull, create a competition with a prize. Whoever can stay on the bull the longest at the hardest difficulty level will win a gift card to a local BBQ joint, or maybe a homemade trophy that can be passed around each year. We also recommend a little liquid courage to really get the adults joining in.

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of this rental is that it creates entertainment for everyone, not just those that are participating. If your bull is rockin’ at your party, it is sure to gather a large crowd of onlookers. There will be encouragement from friends and peer pressure on cautious guests to ride the bull. It makes for a great 40th birthday party rental. There is no better way to keep someone young than riding a buckin’ bronco.

Keep your cowboys safe and have a blast at your next rodeo!

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Cotton Candy Machine: Rental item of the week

Large fluffy pile of blue and pink cotton candy

Welcome to Rental item of the week, where every Thursday Bouncer Rental NW highlights pros and cons of a different rental item. We provide an in-depth review and suggestions on how to incorporate the rental into your next event. Our goal is to inspire event planners to be creatively bold and move outside the normal event scope. 

Cotton Candy machines are our most popular concessions rental. They can be picked up by customers, delivered, and even staffed. They are a wildly popular choice for school carnivals and birthday parties.  This sweet treat is known for its pink or blue colors (vanilla and blueberry), but can be ordered in several other flavors including lime, watermelon, strawberry, bubblegum, apple, banana, cherry, and more.

The act of making cotton candy can be viewed as more of an art than it is a science. Any individual is capable of creating cotton candy, but getting it to look like pink treat you see in the movies can be very challenging and requires quite a bit of practice. Most cotton candy is gathered out of the machine using a paper cone. The best practice for gathering is to rotate the cone while moving it around the outside of the collecting ring. By rolling the cone in your hand like you were having it travel around the ring, you are able to collect a fairly substantial amount of the sugar product. Moving methodically will allow the candy to gather evenly, making it look nice and fluffy. After there is enough treat on the stick, it is suggested that the cotton candy be placed in a bag face town, with the handle of the cone poking out of the top. By grabbing both corners of the bag and flipping it around a few times, you can seal off the top and trap air in the bag. This keeps the cotton candy fluffy and prevents it from being squished before consumption.

If you choose to switch flavor of cotton candy and are only using one machine, you can simply add the other flavor on top of the existing one. This will create a brief period where the floss coming out of the machine will be mixed (i.e. pink and blue will create purple cotton candy). Once all of the previous flavor has been used and is out of the machine, the next color will start.

While all of this work can be done by anyone, Is there a preference to hire staff to operate the rental? There are a few things to consider when deciding on staffing for cotton candy. First, is there a person that can be dedicated to making the dessert during your whole event? At a corporate event, the answer is probably ‘no’, while at a school carnival, there will typically be a large number of parent volunteers that can spend their time laboring over cooked sugar. The other thing to consider is how nice you want the end product to look. A staff member from our event planning company is much more likely to produce beautiful, fluffy, pink, cotton candy than a chunky deformed rock of sugar.

If your event is a fundraiser or non-profit that needs to make back some of the costs for hosting the event, cotton candy can be used to help offset costs. One carton of product makes around 60 servings that can be sold for three to five dollars each. Even at the low end that means one carton can produce $160 in profit after offsetting for the cost of the carton.  This rental can easily cover it’s own costs in addition to offsetting some of the cost the rest of the event incurs.

There are other elegant options for presenting and using cotton candy. It is not necessary to just hand out giant amounts. You can use cotton candy as a garnish on beverages or on top of various desserts.  It could even be used a decoration on an elaborate dessert display. If your event is outdoors, you need to be mindful of the rain. Cotton Candy melts on contact with water. If your event is out doors in the Seattle area, make sure to rent a canopy.

Cotton candy is loved by many and disliked by few. Providing such a delicious experience at your next occasion will certainly aid in the production of a memorable event.

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Seattle School Carnivals: 2014 Planning Edition

Mechanical Tilted Swing ride at an awesome carnival!

Seattle School District’s last day of school is June 19th. Prior to releasing students for the summer, most schools choose to hold a School Carnival to celebrate the end of the year with some fun. Last year, we focused on planning carnival rentals, so this year we are going to focus more on individual options for those rentals. Seattle School District has cracked down harder on their ‘no inflatable policy’, so alternative options are more important than ever. Over the years, we have increased our selection of non-inflatable rentals specifically to provide more options for school carnivals. Let’s highlight a few of the best options;

Carnival Challenge Games

These challenging carnival games are the perfect addition or replacement to any existing rented inflatables your school might have.  Carnival game rentals can range from Classic Ring Toss to new wacky variations such as the Cow Milking Competition.  Carnival challenge games have the added benefit of rewarding participants with prizes when they accomplish the given task.  PTAs love the incredible value that carnival games offer, with rental prices typically allowing three or four games in place of one inflatable. The addition of a variety of games is guaranteed to add a great level of depth to your event and the kids will love all the different options.

Mouth-Watering Concessions

Make the Carnival Experience real by adding the sweet and salty flavors of a true big-top experience.  Concession rentals are easy enough to rent, use, and return so you don’t have to worry about the high purchase price of the machines. Kids go crazy for cotton candy and the snack will keep their spirits and energy high for the whole carnival.  If you prefer salty over sweet, rental popcorn machines are always a great healthier alternative.  The benefits of renting concession machines go beyond cost savings, there is the added ‘no-hassle’ clause that means you don’t have to clean the machine prior to returning it. The cleaning service is included in the cost of the rental. If you are looking for ways to monetize your school carnival to offset the cost or raise money, selling concessions for a few dollars each can cover the cost of the rental and then some.

Water Wizardry

No school carnival is complete without soaking your principal in the dunk tank! Unfortunately, dunk tanks fall under risk managements definition of dangerous due to the risk of drowning. Fortunately there are several awesome dunk tank alternatives. Our favorite dunk tank alternative is the Splash Blast. This highly portable unit soaks the participant almost as thoroughly as a true dunk tank. It makes an impressive noise and show of water sprays when the target is hit.  There are a few other risk-management approved water rental options that you can learn more about, but we highly recommend the Splash Blast. Of course, with Seattle’s weather, you might not even need a water attraction!

Mechanical Mayhem

True carnivals have true carnival rides. We call these spinning, moving, and swinging contraptions mechanical rides.  Surprisingly, because the ride experience is controlled and participants are strapped in, most of these options are permitted at school carnivals.  By having a large mechanical ride at your Seattle school carnival you are providing an experience that won’t be forgotten any time soon. Kid’s will remember the mechanical ride year after year and expect it to be back; so once you commit, plan on having a motorized attraction every year. The most budget conscious and popular ride is the Tubs Of Fun with it’s teacup like experience it’s not far off from the real thing.

If you need any assistance picking safe, allowable options don’t hesitate to get help planning your Seattle School Carnival.  Remember to book early as dates fill up quickly and equipment gets snatched up.  We look forward to seeing the best school carnivals ever in 2014!

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Inflatable Obstacle Course: Rental item of the week

Front view of a massive colorful obstacle course

Welcome to Rental item of the week, where every Thursday Bouncer Rental NW highlights pros and cons of a different rental item. We provide an in-depth review and suggestions on how to incorporate the rental into your next event. Our goal is to inspire event planners to be creatively bold and move outside the normal event scope. 

Welcome Seattle Event Planners! This week’s RIOTW is the inflatable obstacle course. The great thing about about obstacle courses is that they appeal to all age groups. Unlike a traditional bounce house that is only designed for kids up to age 12, teenagers and adults can participate in races. Most courses have separate lanes for the participants, meaning that parents can race against their children without risking a potentially dangerous interaction. The biggest cause of injuries in inflatables comes from larger participants falling on the smaller ones and obstacle courses conveniently rid events of this issue.

In addition to great safety features, obstacle courses can be incredibly large, impressive rental items that can help you theme out your event. They have high throughput, allowing two individuals to enter the ride approximately every 30 seconds (at least 240 people per hour). Rides with high throughput are always preferable for large events because of their ability to constantly entertain more guests. As opposed to a bounce house that can only service 6 to 8 children every few minutes, the constant flow of guests gives the added psychological impression of constantly moving lines.

So what exactly does an inflatable obstacle course consists of? Most courses consist of  four different actions; weaving, squeezing, climbing, and sliding. More often than not, the challenges present themselves in that order, though on larger tracks there can be multiple iterations of each. Participants start by weaving through multiple upright vinyl pillars. The pillars aren’t particularly difficult to get past, but when you are running through racing your best friend, they can definitely trip you up. Following the weaving section comes two horizontal vinyl columns so close together you can’t always see through them. You have to force the air out of the baffles and push your way through. The limited space makes this harder for adults than it is for children. Players will then encounter a wall of varying heights (depending on the obstacle course). The wall will usually have foot and hand holds and isn’t particularly challenging to climb, but doing so fast will take some serious effort. The final and most fun leg of the course is the slide. Guest will race down the slide (feet first!) and out the exit in attempts to be the first one out and rejoice in their glory.

If you want to increase the challenge, you can rent several obstacle courses, or incorporate other non-bouncy challenge items. Great options include last weeks Monster Trikes, mud pits, tires, and whatever else you might be able to get your hands on that is lying around.

So now that you have established that obstacle courses are definitely something you want to be a part of your event, how you can integrate the attraction into the overall mood of the party? Fortunately, these inflatables come in a large number of varieties. Match them to your events theme, or get inspired to create a theme from the one you choose to rent. Here are some examples of themed courses:

Wild West – Get your cowboy on! Clearly a good rental for Western themed parties. Other great events it can compliment are Chili Cook-offs, Rodeos, Ho-downs, and any other Southwest special occasions.

Treasure of the Caribbean – This pirate themed obstacle course is both impressive in size and decor. While it is an obvious choice for pirate themed events, you could also have it at a pirates of the Caribbean outdoor movie party, seafood cook off, or day at the pier.

Crash Course – The mother of all race car themed inflatables. This massive figure-eight race track is both challenging and great looking. A great centerpiece for any Nascar or Formula 1 party.

When booking your obstacle course rental, remember that these inflatables are typically on the larger side of things. If your event is indoors make sure you have ample room in a high ceilinged gymnasium or conference space. If outdoors, just make sure your party area is large enough and you plan for the footprint of the ride accordingly. Thanks for joining us for this weeks Rental item of the week. We look forward to setting up an obstacle course at your next Seattle company picnic location.

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Encourage Healthy Living! Check out YMCA’s Healthy Kid’s Day

Kid Preparing a bunch of healthy food for immediate consumption.The YMCA is an incredible non-profit that has been serving communities for a very long time.  A few years ago they rebranded their organization with the motto “For youth development, For healthy living, For social responsibility”.  They stay true their motto by hosting events such as Healthy Kid’s Day.  Their event page still needs to be updated for 2014, but we decided to go ahead and give you the scoop a little early. This year’s Healthy Kids Day is being held on Saturday, April 26, 2014 form 10am to 1pm. The event is free and open to the public, and does not require a YMCA membership to participate. YMCAs from all over the greater Seattle area participate in this event in a number of different ways.

In addition to YMCA hosted activities they bring in members of the community that support their healthy living mission. Meredith Matthews YMCA typically has horse mounted Police officers, Jamba Juice, and a giant obstacle course for the kids to play in. In past years the West Seattle YMCA sports inflatable rides, a dunk tank, and a even a giant climbing wall! No matter the specific activities, every YMCA promises a fun, active, safe, education event to families in Seattle. Our company helps to support this event by providing ‘in-kind’ donations that substantially decrease the cost of the event rentals for the YMCA. We believe that these types of events help support community health, which aligns with our own goals for event production and fun. See you on April 26th!

Do you have an upcoming public event that you would like help promoting? Email us at [email protected] with as much information as possible pertaining to your event and all related activities. We would be delighted to inform the masses regardless of whether we are helping to host your event.

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Boost Attendance: Let us help you publicize your upcoming events!

Public Community Events

When it comes to event planning, low attendance can be one of the worst feelings.  Even if your event is free, poor publicity can lead to an absence of attendees and disheartened spirits. Fortunately there are plenty of outlets available for making your event known. Social media has made it possible to spread information instantly to large specific groups of people, and empower them to share your event. If you book through us, our event software allows for easy event sharing by consolidating the details of your event in an easy one click Facebook integrated post.

If you have an upcoming public event in the Northwest, we would be happy to host information about your event here on our blog. It doesn’t matter if we didn’t plan your event or if you haven’t rented items from us, we support community interaction in the support of community health and growth. If the opportunity to share your event here interests you, please email us at [email protected] to get in touch with our blogging team.  For other tips on boosting event attendance, check out this post entitled ‘Show Up!

Happy Planning!

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Giant Monster Tricycles: Rental item of the week

Giant Adult Tricycle Rental

Welcome to Rental item of the week, where every Thursday Bouncer Rental NW highlights pros and cons of a different rental item. We provide an in-depth review and suggestions on how to incorporate the rental into your next event. Our goal is to inspire event planners to be creatively bold and move outside the normal event scope. 

Monster Tricycles sound like they are out of the latest dreamscape novel by Dr. Seuss. Don’t be deceived, they are a very real, incredibly unique rental item that will be remembered by guests at your event. A set of giant tricycles at your event is as much fun for the onlookers as it is the participants. On numerous occasions, we have watched as full grown adults indulge in their childhood tendencies. Rockin’ 10-inch rims, chopper handlebars, and a bold red, blue, or pink powder coat, these big wheelers turn heads.  So why is it that a toddler toy can influence a professional to drop their briefcase and pick up a helmet? We’d like to think that an exciting event provides the perfect opportunity for appropriately lowered inhibitions, and items like these adult tricycles end up being the perfect catalyst for said social interactions.

Helmets are provided when renting Monster tricycles and we definitely advocate for using them. Unless traveling down a steep hill, the tricycles can’t gain too much speed, but we advise caution and safety above all else. Additionally, even though the tricycles are made of metal, nothing is indestructible. Always be respectful of rental equipment and know the limits of the item so it doesn’t become damaged through extreme use. You wouldn’t want to prevent the next party from having a great time.

So you’ve been provided with an incredibly simple yet effective piece of entertainment; how do you integrate it with your event schedule. Where does it fit into the grand theme of the evening? These are the questions we want to help you answer in Rental item of the week.

Wedding Entrances (or exits?)

Here comes the bride… on a tricycle! Using a giant tricycle on your wedding day is certainly not traditional, but brides (and grooms!) everywhere are looking for ways to add flare and a touch of spunk into their nuptials. Think about your wedding day. As the crowd goes quiet and the music starts, everyone’s heads turn towards the back of the room. The double doors at the end of the aisle open and a the groom comes shooting down the aisle on a bright red three wheeled devil. not far behind him, the groomsmen rollerblade down the aisle hand in hand with roller-skating, dress adorned bridesmaids. The music shifts slightly and everyone stands up. Slowly and methodically, the bride rolls in on a pink monster trike. And in a mere moment, a wedding entrance never to be forgotten by guests was created thanks in part to the addition of a simple tricycle.

If your wedding ceremony is reserved for more traditional practices, consider the option of riding in to the ceremony or out to your honeymoon. The bride pedaling furiously and the groom standing shotgun on the back step. Careful of the dress train!

Races and Relays

Probably the most common application of Monster Trikes is at corporate events and picnics. The tricycles work equally well indoors and outdoors, so event time of year is irrelevant as long as you have ample space to ride around in.  Introducing competition into an event is a great way to get people involved that normally would not participate in the festivities. You can further participation even further by incentivizing the competition with awesome prizes. To step up the game, create a much larger relay race or multiple stage event with monster trikes representing one piece of the challenge. Create multiple challenge stations around a field and require contestants to trike between stations while balancing a spoon on their nose. The goofier the challenges, the better.

Entertainment Props

Using rental items to improve and alter the nights existing activities requires an imagination and dedication to the event’s success. If you have performers attending the event, let them use the Monster Tricycle to roll around and interact with guests. The walk-around Magician might be able to get a few more tricks in if he gets between people quicker. The photographer could capture amazing shots of event-goers smiling and laughing because he looks ridiculous on his tyke toy when approaching groups for snapshots. Have you ever seen someone juggle five knives while popping a wheelie on a big wheel. (Ok, I admit that last one might be a little extreme). If you have a youth group event with skits during the evening, include the wheeled fun on the evening theatricals to command the attention of the easily distracted youth.

Hopefully this first Rental item of the week sparks your creative fuse when planning your upcoming event. Let us know about all of the great ideas you come up with for incorporating unique rentals into your events. Happy Wheeling!

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Wacky Whirligig Indoor April Fun!

Kids have a blast at this indoor inflatable bouncy house event.

Seattle is not know for it’s sunny Spring weather, and the phrase “April Showers brings May Flowers” couldn’t be more true for the beautiful Northwest.  Fortunately for those with cabin fever, several industries have adapted to the notorious rain by bringing their entertainment into the dry safety of the indoors.  Whirligig is one particularly great multi-week event hosted by the Seattle Center.   It starts a month from now, on Friday April 4th, 2014 and runs through Sunday April 20th. This annual event has been hosted by the Seattle Center for more than a decade. The event is hosted from 11am to 6pm and prices are extremely reasonable, $7.50 for an unlimited ride pass. There is a ticketing option as well, but if you plan on staying more than 20 minutes, your best bet is the pass. This well priced activity grants you access to 11 inflatable rides including inflatable slides, bounce houses, combo rides, and obstacle courses.  There is also a free Thursday option that allows unlimited use of the rides at no cost to participants, though be prepared to wait in lines.

In addition to the bounce house entertainment, there are a number of other close by paid and free activities. For free activities, there is typically an art station for children, and periodic entertainment on the main armory stage. The entertainment can range from school choirs, dance troops, magicians, and more. There a number of other exciting activities on the Seattle Center campus.  The Seattle Children’s Theatre is a great option for watching great renditions of classic plays and books. The Seattle Children’s Museum is located downstairs from Whirligig and in past years has offered a $1 discount to those that have purchased the Whirligig all day pass. The Pacific Science Center is located a short walk away from Whirligig and has both consistent and rotating exhibits on their large campus. There is an IMAX theatre as well that typically play stunning exploratory documentaries (as well as great theatrical movies) that are best viewed in this mind-blowing theatre.

The Whirligig Event is located on the main floor (Floor 2) of the Armory and is also the location of a newly remodeled Food Court. There are tons of great food options to choose from including my personal favorite, Skillet Street Food (try the Fried Chicken Sammy). There are also caricaturists, balloonists, and face painters around, with prices starting at $1. Make sure you check out the Whirligig Information Page prior to heading downtown. All this great fun will probably cause you start thinking about renting a bounce house this coming summer. Make sure you remember who brought you all the great Whirligig Fun!

Do you have an upcoming public event that you would like help promoting? Email us at [email protected] with as much information as possible pertaining to your event and all related activities. We would be delighted to inform the masses regardless of whether we are helping to host your event.

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High School Graduation Celebrations

Celebrate High School Graduation with a Rockin' Grad Party

As Seattle embraces it’s wettest season, High School Seniors everywhere are bunkering down to complete their courses. High School graduation is less than four months away, and many of the Grad Night planning committees are well underway. Groups of thoughtful parents all over the state are carefully budgeting and planning for their student’s last Hoorah before college. One of the primary benefits of graduation parties is creating a safe, controlled environment for students to celebrate while preventing the use of drugs and alcohol.   Unless the parents have children that have previously graduated, chances are this is their first experience planning a Grad Party. Fortunately we have some tips to get you started.

Multiple Locations

Most graduation parties typically take place at three separate locations. The newly graduated students are whisked away in a bus following their celebratory ceremony.  Picking the right locations can be difficult depending on your groups size and personality. Some typical locations include bowling alleys, Go-Kart facilities, or large rental halls.  The groups will spend approximately three hours at each location, providing the graduates with fun throughout the entire night. Depending on how intricate your parent planning wants to be, each location can have it’s own theme, or an overall theme for the night. It is typically a good idea for two of your locations to have some sort of ‘built-in’ entertainment (i.e., bowling at the bowling alley).  When selecting your facilities, keep in mind that the location won’t be the only source of fun.

Filling the Space with Food, Fun, and Games

Almost more important than selecting venues, is making sure that each location is filled with fun activities, food, and music.  Every location should have some sort of food and beverage option. Check with your venues, some will require that you utilize their catering options. Others won’t have built in options, but even Safeway Sandwiches or Costco Pizza is an adequate option. You don’t have to have a full meal at every location, snacking options will often fit the bill.  For music, you can book a DJ, or just rent a sound system and pick your own playlist. When it comes to other filler entertainment there are a ton of options including laser tag, mechanical bulls, photo booths, bouncy boxing, and much more.

Quality Entertainment for Quality Kids

Keep in mind that this is your child’s special night. This sort of opportunity deservers a special performance. Typically reserved for the last location, it is recommended that you provide at least one high quality entertainer for the evening. The two typical choices are Magicians and Hypnotists.  Hypnotists are typically the better choice, but you run the risk of no one actually being hypnotized.  This is a rare occurrence, and successful shows are usually worth the risk. Magicians can be great, but unless they are very high quality, the kids can get easily bored and move onto other things. Other great options to fill an hour of your night could be a comedian or a stunt man.

These simple guidelines are sure to help you create a memorable experience for every Senior Grad. Remember to always make the event you own with creative decorations, and special activities that fit your group’s personality. If you need some assistance with planning you can always leave it to the event planning experts. Keep your event safe, and congratulations to all of the Seniors!

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