It was a sunny Bank Holiday weekend and I was excited to be working at Crich Tramway Museum for their Magical May event. I knew little about the popular Derbyshire tourist destination prior to that day, other than being told I had been when I was younger. The museum has links back to George Stephenson, and the facility offers vintage trams in a village serging with shops and even a working pub!
I arrived at 10.30am with my colleague Kate who drove us there and we enjoyed the views on the way. Despite promising to not be very warm, it turned out to be a pleasant day. The Museum is set on top of a hill near the Crich war memorial in Matlock. It offers outstanding views of the local countryside and is within easy reach of other well-known villages and tourist destinations within The Peaks.
The brief for the job was that we were to be Fairies in a Fairy village; we spent the day working outside in the magical forest and were grateful to have the weather on our side. We helped the visiting children to write down their wishes on pieces of card which they hung on the surrounding trees, with hopes that the Fairies would read their wishes & make them come true. I was almost tempted to make a wish myself!
There were a variety of wishes ranging from becoming a ‘yoonycorn’ through to wishing for a Billion dollars (I would have se>led for a Magnum ice cream!) We helped out the Mums and Dads by re-setting the children’s expectations for some of the more extravagant wishes. We also took photos with the children so that the memories could last forever.
The children were excited to meet Bluebell the Fairy Queen played by Katie and Blossom played by me. I loved my bright pink glittery dress complete with magical fairy wand, flower crown and sparkly wings – I really felt like a true fairy princess.
It was a busy day being on our feet all the time, so Katie & I took it in turns to sit on the Fairy Queen throne. Despite us meeting lots and lots of children that day the fairy village was spacious so there was room and time for everyone to enjoy themselves without feeling rushed or squashed.
It was an amazing day and I would highly recommend a visit. I can’t wait to go back with my family when I’m not working so that I can really experience everything that Crich has to offer, for example riding the old tramlines, the woodland walks and indoor and outdoor play areas. There really is something for everyone come rain or shine.
Gotham City can be a dark and dangerous place, filled with all manner of dangerous villains who perpetually plot and scheme their various evil activities. The Joker, The Riddler, Two-Face and others are forever working to sow the seeds of chaos in the streets. It is a sprawling metropolis of gothic architecture, dark alleyways and a storied history.
Gotham Village in Nottinghamshire, by contrast, is a quiet and pleasant place, however, it has an equally storied history. Nicknamed by some as “The Village of Legends” it was formally acknowledged in the Batman comics in 1996 in a story titled “Cityscape”. The Village itself dates back to possibly the 10th century, and is pronounced “Goat-Um” which comes from the old English “Goat-Home” or “Goat Town”. It was in the 13th Century that the village first made a name for itself. It was announced that King John wished to build a hunting lodge in the area, however, should the King travel to the area, any local road he used would become a King’s Highway, this would, in turn, mean a hefty tax burden on the locals. They would not only have been expected to build this highway, but the responsibility of it’s upkeep would also fall to local workers. This gave rise to the story of “The Wise Men of Gotham” who hatched a plan to feign madness.
It was a commonly held belief at the time, that mental illness was infectious, thus the people of Gotham knew that if they all acted insane, the King’s road would be diverted. The story goes that when the King’s Knights and other representatives arrived in the area, locals collectively pretended to be insane, staging acts of madness and comical stupidity for the benefit of the King’s men. They reportedly observed locals engaged in acts such as fencing off a tree to keep a Cuckoo captive (Cookoo’s symbolise summer and it is thought the locals explained they were attempting to capture the summer), attempting to down an Eel, and attempting to roll cheese down a hill in the belief that it would make its own way to market. The story of “The Mad Men of Gothem” would go on to circulate for centuries.
Both towns, however, have one thing in common. When the sun goes down and the shadows grow long, a guardian patrols the night, one who’s name is spoken in hushed tones by the criminals and evil doers. A Dark Knight who defends the innocent and punishes the guilty, who can melt into shadow and sour over the rooftops, not a man, a creature of the night… a Bat Man… Our Absolutely Amazing Dark Knight recently visited Gotham and recruited some new superheroes for his team.
Always a tough subject this one. Being a Children’s Entertainer requires many skills, especially character entertainers. Just by looking great in a costume and wig is one very small part, we have to be organised, great with kids, punctual and have the ability to think on our feet.
We don’t want to spend the party discipling naughty children – that is not why we are there
Bad behaviour at parties is disruptive and it’s disrespectful to everyone else there but especially the birthday child, the parent that has made the booking and the entertainer.
Our entertainers have been hit, kicked, had their party equipment damaged, their prizes and sweets taken without asking – bad behaviour is damaging to the party industry – as professionals we don’t go to work to be physically abused and it’s a big reason why may entertainers are leaving the industry.
- On playing pass the parcel an entertainer was kicked in the back because the child was demanding a turn
- On running a party a child repeatedly punched an entertainer in the arm
- A bubble machine was turned completely upside down spilling the contents all over the floor
- A bubble machine was grabbed and the bubble fluid was tipped all over the entertainers music system
- Prizes and sweets have been booted without permission
- Children have gone into the entertainers changing area and tipped orange juice over their bags and belongings
- At a star wars party an entertainer was repeatedly hit on the head with a light saber
- Numerous incidents of banged heads and fights
The above is just an example of some of the issues that we have had recently and since the pandemic and returning to parties incidents have been more frequent and more aggressive.
Our entertainers are experienced at what they do but they are entertainers and they are there to do a job, if there are grown ups and parents at a party we expect them to step in if there is an issue with bad behaviour.
What can you do to help
- BEHAVIOUR ISSUES – If there are children with known behavioural issues please make us aware before hand
- NO LOOSE BALLOONS – We see this time and time again, the same with props. Loose balloons are either burst or the kids use them to hit each other with. They are a MAJOR distraction – please do not have them. Avoid any props as well.
- KEEP DOORS CLOSED – Do not allow access to any outdoor areas – the kids need to be contained and kept together.
- NOT LETTING THE CHILDREN TOUCH THE PARTY EQUIPMENT – We usually set up and then get changed into character, during this time please keep children away.
- STEPPING IN – If you see that the kids are getting unruly please step in and help
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR NEON PARTY
- The room must be completely dark (not pitch black but as close as) – any windows must be covered. This is crucial to ensure that the UV blacklight cannons are effective. The more light that comes into the room the less effective the blacklights will be.
- The closer you are to the black lights the more effective they will be.
- Please ask your guests to wear Neon or white clothes so they glow. Cheap clothes are better as we will be using glow in the dark facepaints that can stain. If anyone has concerns about clothing they must not participate in having any neon paint as it is inevitable (being kids) that it won’t just stay on their face.
- For the first 15 – 20 minutes of the party the DJ will be playing whilst I will be doing very quick neon facepainting. The face painting is just spots and stripes so that the kids glow under the UV lights – so nothing intricate – just war paint!!.
- We bring 100 glow sticks / bracelets with us as part of your party package.
- If you have a playlist / favourite music / favourite games that would be really helpful as we try and prep as much music as possible before hand. Anything goes whether it’s chart or Disney etc.
- We need a minimum of 30 minutes before hand to set up – longer if we can – 45 mins to an hour is ideal.
- Please do not have loose balloons as these are generally used as weapons to whack other kids with and can get out of hand as you can imagine…
Any questions please just give us a ring on 07795 342639.
Meet the Easter Bunny & Trixie Cottontail at Mercia Marina this Easter Sunday
When: Sunday 17th April
Time: 12 noon until 4 pm
Where: Mercia Marina, Findern Ln, Willington, Derby DE65 6DW
Why we are moving to Eco Friendly reusable pass the parcel bags.
Ask any child in the UK about party games and they usually will name musical statues, musical bumps and pass the parcel. We have always included a free pass the parcel in our 2 hour children’s party packages and it’s been this way since we launched our party company in 2013.
If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it?
We’ve looked at moving to reusable bags before but couldn’t really find the right product, however with have had several parents asking us for less ‘plastic and throwaway’ and more eco friendly alternatives and this time when we explored we found several different options including drawstring and Velcro.
But kids love traditional pass the parcel!
We have played this game in may forms; at some parties we pass an object or even a box of sweets around. Kids love the anticipation of winning a sweet if the music stops on them! However this doesn’t always satisfy the need to rip a parcel open and this is why we feel using a set of bags with a closure is the ideal solution.
How does it differ?
Instead of wrapping a prize in paper we use 10 reusable bags of different sizes tucked inside each other and the kids tear open a layer when it lands on them. This means of course the inner ‘prize’ bag is quite small and if we don’t have something quite small enough there will be a care that says ‘winner’ then the child can choose a prize.
Are they expensive?
As with everything the initial cost is quite high for us as we are using quality bags from reputable sellers and of course there will be the ongoing cost of filling the bags however we feel this is the right move to make going forward.
Will you still be charging for adding a pass the parcel on?
Our 2 horus parties will continue to offer our echo pass the parcel as part of the package however our other party packages will have the option to add one on and we will be reducing the cost from £10 to £5 to reflect the use of less materials. The cost will cover the prizes, the time it takes to prepare and the ongoing up keep of the bags.
In our 1 hour packages and our 90 minute party packages you are welcome to provide your own pass the parcel.
Will all children get to have a go?
We always limit (and always have) the number of layers to around 10 – any more than that and the excitement factor of pass the parcel tends to wane and the interest drops off. We do ensure that all children get included by getting a sweet if the parcel doesn’t land on them.
History of pass the parcel
Certainly when I was a child we only had parties at home and that would usually involve my mum wrapping a parcel in layers of newspaper! Pass the Parcel is definitely a British tradition – I know from the amount of parties we have done for families who have moved to the UK that it’s firmly rooted in out culture but maybe that doesn’t expand over seas.
The earliest known mention of pass the parcel was actually in a paper in Beeston, Nottingham (which incidentally is our home city.) all the way back in 1929. Amazing really that children are still finding such joy in a game that’s almost 100 years old.
Wrap up a small gift in many covers of paper until it becomes a large parcel. Seat the children in a ring while someone goes to the piano. One of the players is handed the parcel, and as soon as the music strikes up he passes it to his next-door neighbour, and so it goes on round the ring until the music stops, when the player then in possession of the parcel drops out of the game.
The music starts again, and the same procedure is gone through until, when only two players are left, the gift becomes the property of the player who was not in possession of it when the music stops.
Meet Queen Elsa and Spider Man at Clipstone Welfare Sunday 17th April 2022
It’s almost time for your Absolutely Amazing Party
It’s been in the planning for weeks….maybe even months but your party day is almost here!
Hopefully by now it will just be the final touches to your party, chasing up those final RSVP’s and sorting those last minute jobs. Your entertainment is sorted and remember we bring everything with us to entertain the children including lights, music games and prizes however you must remember the party bags, food and the birthday cake (and the candles plus a lighter / matches!).
What to do this week:
- Number of children – Please confirm the approx. number of children attending plus any changes you may have made.
- Final details - We have just sent your final party confirmation – You must read through all the details and ensure that everything is correct (including location, time and date) and advise us immediately of any errors.
- Payment – Please do not pay any final balances to the office. You balance must be paid to your entertainer on the day in cash.
On the day of your party
- Please note that our entertainer/ s must be able to park close to the venue to unload equipment. Please ensure that this is possible, or a space is reserved. If there are any parking limitations or the car park is pay and display it is essential that you make your entertainer aware.
- Arrival time - Our party entertainer/s will need access to your venue a minimum of 30 minutes before the start of your party to set up the equipment needed for your party – if they need longer they will advise you. They will also need 30 mins to pack down. (Discos need 45 minutes to an hour).
Timings – Your party entertainment must start at the agreed time. If there are any delays we must still finish the party at the agreed time as we may have other commitments we need to get to.
- Set up - Please note that when your party entertainer / s arrives to set up their equipment s/he will be in ‘civvies’ s/he will not arrive dressed as there is a lot of equipment to be carried in to your venue. We recommend that your child is kept away from the party room until the start of the party as to not spoil the illusion; the same applies when the party is over, your entertainer will get changed to pack down his/her equipment, so it is advised that children are kept away from the area.
- Payment - When your entertainer arrives please ensure that payment is made to them when they introduce themselves.
- Equipment - Please make sure that there is a table for the entertainer in the performance area that is a minimum of 4 feet across (6 feet is ideal) and 2 chairs that are positioned near a power socket.
- Changing - Your entertainer/s will need somewhere to get changed and safely leave their belongings (Toilets are not acceptable). We understand that many church halls are small and have limited additional space – we can usually work around this by changing in storage cupboards or behind stage curtains.
- Please keep little hands away - Please keep children / party guests away from any equipment that has been set up in preparation for the party – children must not be allowed to play with or touch any equipment.
- Space, Space, SPACE! We cannot stress enough how much space we need. Our parties are full of dancing, games, activities and more. If you are at home push back those sofas and take the coffee tables in the other room. A crowded party is never fun!
- NO LOOSE BALLOONS – Kids LOVE balloons, however having them at a party is a massive distraction and can make the smooth running of your party running extremely difficult for your entertainer. They get used as footballs, weapons (our entertainers can get repeatedly hit with balloons and that is not fun) and they get burst which can be distressing to some of your little guests (some children are terrified of the bang). Please do not have them on the floor, same goes for Helium balloons on ribbons.
What will happen at your party:
- Introductions - Your party entertainer will introduce themselves and run through what will happen at your party. All entertainers work within a framework for the party, but all will have their own special twist or stamp on how they run your party.
- Equipment – All equipment will be set up for the start of your party including mini disco (lighting and music system).
- Welcome - At the beginning of your party your entertainer will enter and welcome all the guests to the party.
- Organising the party - All aspects and control of the party can be left to us – we have plenty of experience in organising children – but we are not to have complete supervision of the children there must be at least one adult present always.
- We do NOT discipline guests! Sometimes the fun and excitement can be overwhelming for a child. Once in a while, we may need a parental figure to step in and help with a child. If you see that one of the guests is interfering with a game or preventing the party from running smoothly, we ask that you kindly take care of the matter.
- Distractions – To get the maximum enjoyment from your booking please avoid any unnecessary distractions. We ask that you avoid bringing anything that can be used as a weapon or football.
When to serve food:
- For one-hour bookings your party will run for the first hour at which point the character will say goodbye and the children will sit down for their food.
- For 90-minute parties the party will run for 1 1⁄2 hours, the character will then say goodbye and the children will sit down for food.
- For two-hour bookings food should be served an hour into the party, your character / s will sit with the children during this time and lead singing of Happy Birthday. The party will then continue for another 30 minutes and the character / s will help hand out party bags at the end (provided by host /parents). The total time is 2 hours including the break for party food.
What we provide:
- All equipment needed to run the party including music and light equipment.
- All games and prizes.
- Coronation ceremony / superhero initiation / Jedi Diploma including gift for the birthday child.
What you should provide:
- The venue
- Party food and cake (and lighter)
- Party bags
- A suitable place for the character / s to get changed and securely leave their personal belongings (toilets are not acceptable) and a suitable place for them to hide before they make their grand entrance (again toilets are not acceptable).
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
Glitter and Fake Snow
Parties, especially Princess parties, can get quite messy with fake snow (made of plastic), glitter and wrapping paper. We also use a bubble machine, and an optional snow machine.
**Please check with your venue that they are happy with everything that we will be using**
Allergies and Dietary Requirements
Please note that during the party small sweet treats will be given to the children including:
- White Chocolate and Chocolate Coins and Fizzy sweets
- Haribo Sweets
Please advise of any allergies or dietary / religious requirements .
We hope you have a great party with us and please feel free to email on email@example.com or call the office on 07795 342639 with any questions you may have.