Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{GWD Parties} Dashell's Circus Train Party!

My oldest son, Dashell, is a train-lovin' little guy! In fact, I can't remember a time when he didn't just adore trains. He's constantly running around the house shouting, "Clickity CLACK! Clickity CLACK!!" So when it came time to plan his third birthday party, of course the theme had to be trains! But as per his request... "No trains with faces!" So with a little bit of thought and some creativity we arrived at the perfect theme... Vintage Circus Train Party!

The Invitation
For Dashell's special day, I designed an invitation that had a big top flair but absolutely focused on the excitement of the circus train rolling into town! 

Balloons, monkeys, elephants, lions and panda bears (Dashell has a thing for pandas!) all helped announce that there was a fun-filled birthday party on the way.

The Entryway
One of the best things about parties is the magic they bring when they help to ignite the imaginations of your guests

As people arrived at Dashell birthday party, I wanted them to feel like they were actually entering the big top

I hung yards of red and white striped fabric from the pergola over our driveway and adorned it with a circus inspired printable Welcome Sign. Then I topped the whole thing off with a swath of fabric bunting reminiscent of the design of the invitation.

Just in front of the big top entryway, I layered bunches of huge 36" balloons (which Dashell just couldn't resist grabbing and running around with!) And then to give everyone a hint that a little more circus magic might be found inside the party, I placed a large 6' giraffe popping out of the bushes!

As the guests walked down the driveway and toward the party they were met by a warning sign, "CAUTION The circus train has derailed and the animals have escaped! Proceed at your own risk." 

Just ahead was an oversized elephant balancing on a ball. This was definitely not going to be your average, run of the mill circus train party!

Party Decorations
Our entire yard was draped with over 600 feet of custom fabric bunting to help transport everyone to the circus! 

Large cut out circus animals peeked over walls and out from behind bushes

Overhead half a dozen monkeys swung from the tree limbs and helped to hold up our birthday banner (with the aid of a friendly elephant). 

We set up our little train for the children to ride on and added a few white balloons so it would seem as though it was puffing around the track.

The Sweets
Oh, the dessert table! How I love, love, love to watch children's faces light up when they see it!! For this party knew exactly what I wanted to do... a Circus Wagon! How much fun, right?! 

I will be indebted forever to my sweet husband and our amazing friend, Rog, for their help in making my dream a reality! Using a 5 foot folding table that I had purchased a while back from Walmart, as the base structure, we worked hard to build a vintage circus wagon around it to hold all the goodies. And what AMAZING goodies they were! The vendors I worked with on this party truly out did themselves. The craftsmanship on the sweets was breathtaking!

The centerpiece of the dessert table was a delicious cake, made by Fantasy Frostings, which had the most beautiful fondant circus train chugging around it. Brittany, from Edible Details, did the most exquisite job translating the train from the printables into fondant. 

The detail-work on it is stunning!

Just in front of the cake I created a 3 ring circus by wrapping styrofoam disks with a little grosgrain ribbon and then smoothing a layer of brown sugar inside the rings to act as dirt. 

No greatest show on earth would be complete without some fabulous circus acts, so inside my 3 ring circus I stood up some unbelievably gorgeous circus animal cookies, created by Jen from JP Creatibles based on the designs from my printables. 

I simply can't get over how she was able to sculpted the contours of the bodies with royal icing! And the detail on the giraffes is insane!

My son adores cake pops. So no party for him is complete without the addition of some sweet deliciousness on a stick

When I reached out Sarah, from Mom's Killer Cakes and Cookies, I wasn't sure if she would be able to translate my printable designs into cake pops, but she worked her magic and they were pure perfection

Treats that wonderful need to be displayed in a special way, so I purchased a few circus wagons from Michaels, painted  them to match the party decor and voila! We had our very own circus parade winding through the dessert table!
And honestly, it just wouldn't be a circus party without a little carmel corn and a few cupcakes, right?! So to finish off our sweets buffet, I designed some coordinating popcorn cones as well as some cupcake toppers and wrappers. 

Then I wrapped a few more styrofoam disks with grosgrain ribbon and mounted them on some old candle holders I had lying around and I had the perfect stands to display the final touches to the dessert table.

The kids were mesmerized by the beautiful sweets and definitely enjoyed every single minute that they spent gobbling them up!

The Activities

Have you ever seen children spy a train table? It is like watching a moth being drawn to a flame! 

When we decided to have a train party I knew that the one train table we had would not be enough for all our little guests so I set out to design a second one. 

I have to admit that every since my son became obsessed with wooden trains, I have become a little obsessed myself with trying to build the perfect track. So this party was perfect excuse to carve out a little time to work on my track building skills and I have to say I was pretty pleased with the original train table layout that I came up with! (For anybody else out there that is looking for a fun train table layout I will be posting the plans on my blog soon.)

I placed huge baskets of trains at each table and the kids LOVED winding their trains over bridges, through tunnels and over crossings! Oh, and of course, crashing into each other's trains!

And just so their fun wouldn't have to end with the party, we sent each guest home with their very own wooden circus train set, complete with animals and track.

The best part of all this... Dashell had a blast and loved every moment of his birthday! (And that is really why we all work so hard on parties for our children, right?!)

Vendor and Credits
Party Styling - Gwynn Wasson Designs

Printable Party Invitations, Decor and Graphic Design- Gwynn Wasson Designs

Cake - Fantasy Frostings

Fondant Train and Circus Tent - Edible Details

Circus Animal Cookies - JP Creatibles
Cake Pops - Mom's Killer Cakes and Cookies


  1. WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I soooooo LOVE this! INCREDIBLE JOB GIRL!

  2. Oh my circus stars, amazing G! Yours designs are so whimsical, charming, and so fun!

  3. Oh my goodness, every detail of this entire party is just FANTASTIC! Your son must have been in train/circus heaven!

  4. Adorable!! I love the circus train wagon - and I am SO glad to see Jen of JP Creatibles make an appearance! I have missed her! I also love the train on the cake by Brittany- her trains are out of this world!! So much fun for your son, Gwynn! You always create such a fabulous party for your boys! I love seeing all that you do~ you're fab!!

  5. Can you please tell me where you got your animal cutouts... I have been searching the elephant is exactly what I want.

  6. would love to know how you got the animal cutouts.

  7. wow!!! This is awesome! I too would like to know how you did the animal cut outs for the yard.

  8. So glad that you like the party! The graphics for the large animal standees are available in my Etsy shop... https://www.etsy.com/shop/GwynnWassonDesigns

  9. Hello, i would like to ask you about the winter wonderland theme how did you find the penguin's hold the balloons? please i need those penguins.!

  10. Gwen would you pleeease give me the plans on how you did the dessert table?? You said a folding table was the base? but how did you secure it to the other parts ? please email me!!

  11. Gwen would you pleeease give me the plans on how you did the dessert table?? You said a folding table was the base? but how did you secure it to the other parts ? please email me!!