Island Blues -50yr- Blues Band
Jan in Chicago, IL, USA
I was turning 50...and wanted a "special party" to celebrate the ocassion...after all, you only turn 50 once. My birthday is at the end of June, so an outdoor party was in order. I wanted the party to be very upbeat. Most people have the "blues" when turning 50, so I decided to take a spin on that theme. I also am a fan of pirates and my preferred choice of drink is Captain Morgan Rum. So with that in mind, I had my ideas for the party.
To start the excitement off and set the tone of the party, I made invitations on my home computer. All in blue of course. I took a 50 dollar bill and scanned it, blowing it up twice the size to fit an 8.5 x 11 paper folded the 11 inch way. I removed the picture of the president and inserted one of me. Instead of it being a federal reserve note, it was turned into a birthday note. The serial numbers were changed to reflect the birth date on one corner, and the birthday date on the other. The wording was changed from fifty dollars to fifty years.
On the inside of the invitation top (page 2), to add a little fun, I had "If older is better, then I'm approaching Magnificent" with the rest of the inside reading Come & Celebrate a night of Fun & Festivities Jan turns 50 "Blues" Island Birthday Bash including the rest of the details. The guests were told "Blue attire as the preferred color of the evening & of course with a tropical flair." A treasure map of sorts was on the back of the invitation, providing directions. I wanted to invite all my friends and family.
Being that I live in a big city, in a rather small condo a place to stage the party was needed. I am lucky enough to have a friend that owns a Marina on the Chicago River, just south of downtown and next to Chinatown. There is a great decked area that was put into use for the party. We had a canopy placed over an area, in the event of rain. There were round tables scattered throughout, keeping in mind to have the tables no larger than seating for 6. The area was hung with tropical birds of all shapes and sizes.
At one end of the area, we arranged the bar, complete with mylar palm trees at each end and a mylar green skirt. At the other end of the area we arranged the buffet. The band (a blues band, of course, plus this is Chicago and blues is one of my favorites) was set up to the side of the main seating area. At yet another area (for later) was the birthday cake, complimented with a serving station for specially brewed coffee, cappacino, expresso and teas. (Doing this helped with the flow of the guests for the entire evening.)
The tables were covered with linen tablecloths, the buffet tables with skirts, in shades of blue. The food was served in old silver chafing dishes and trays, along with "plastic" crystal bowls, to show off a pirates "booty." Centerpieces were oil hurricane lamps, with an orchid attached to each. The tableware (cups, plates, silverware & naplins) all blue. When the guests entered the area they were greeted by the wonderful cooking smells of roasting food and two of the pirate's crew (with special T-shirts, eye patches, bandanas and cutoffs) issuing already premade name tags with island birds on them. We made sure there were also blank name tags, just in case.
The menu of the evening was a roasted pig done on a spit, along with a roasted lamb. There were side dishes of pork & beans, cucumber tomato salad, fried rice, fruit salad, garden salads, tomato onion salad, and sweet cornbread. The buffet was adorned with plenty of fresh fruit pineapples, grapes, apples arranged at varying heights by using props under the table cloths. The birthday cake was a carrot cake (my favorite and great for an outdoor party since it does not need refrigeration) decorated like a treasure map.
To start the evening once most of the guests arrived a Chinese Lion Dance was performed (in honor of being so close to Chicago's Chinatown AND to chase all the evil spirits away, bringing a blessing of health and happiness to all those in attendance.) As the evening progressed, the blues band provided music for both listening and dancing pleasure. As the sun set, search lights and a laser light show were turned on to add a bit of glitz. As a fun item, a large poster was created of all of the important things that happened the year I was born, my birth being the headliner, giving the date, names of my parents, time, weight, place of birth. This was staged by the bar area (where there were two pirate gals serving) and entry way, giving guests something to read and comment about with one another.
One of the best things of the party was the fact that everyone got into the spirit and wore blue, most with the tropical flare as requested. Of course this was great because I wore a completely different color, white, which let everyone know I was the birthday gal. The resulting photographs were perfect! It all looked as if it were a coordinated staged production. Everyone in blue, me in white, complete with a large flowered white silk lei. The weather even pitched in, being one of the most beautiful evenings we had had. The guests all left with a little minature of Captain Morgan Rum, with gold chocolate coin candies tied up in netting with a parchment card thanking them for attending and being a part of my personal treasure!