Earlier this summer Victoria asked for your ideas for a Russian folk-themed party she was planning for her daughter. We're thrilled to be able to see how this unique party turned out! Victoria fills us in: My daughter's 3rd "Russian Folk" birthday party happened to be her very first "kid party," as the first two birthdays were intimate family affairs. The original idea for the theme was "folklore" in-and-of-itself. However, as the party planning progressed, our Russian roots began to creep in more and more until they just took over!
I couldn’t resist the rich cultural traditions and beautiful imagery that comes with folktales. Both my husband and I are Russian immigrants and it didn’t hurt that Julia’s grandparents were all too eager to participate and join in on a theme that was so close to their hearts.
The party was held in our back yard. For the decorations, I pretty-much raided my mother's house for the traditional Samovar, hand-painted wooden dishes (hohloma), and the Russian scarves that served as a backdrop for our photo station where the kids were able to dress up in Russian folk costumes. I strung traditional Russian tea bread (sushki) onto kitchen twine and hung several of these strings around the rental tent.
My favorite feature of the party were the party hats, which also served as the party favors. I had headscarves and newsboy caps made for the girls and boys, respectively. Each was made in a different fabric pattern so that no two matched. I used wooden clothes pins to hang these from our fence right at the party entrance, so each child got to pick one upon entering the party. And boy, did those kids look adorable in their hats! Of course, Etsy was the amazing source for this undertaking.
For the food: while I usually go all out with gourmet dishes, I attempted to keep it simple considering the 65 person guest list. My attempts were thwarted when my husband brought home 20 pounds of meat, which he proceeded to grind himself for the "simple" burgers with grilled pineapple and blue cheese fixin's. The more "theme-appropriate" foods included roasted vegetables, corn on the cob, Russian ginger cookies (pryaniki), and perogies made by Julia's grandmother and great-grandmother. I put a lot of effort into her story-book birthday cake.
Activities included an activity table containing large coloring books with images from traditional Russian folk tales (which I got in a Russian book store in Brooklyn, NY), as well as theme-appropriate stickers. As mentioned above, a photo station was also set up, for which I recruited a good photographer friend/guest of ours. There was also a rented bouncy house and a "baby area" for our particularly young party-goers. We put two rugs down on the grass and brought out the rocking horse and other floor toys.
The highlight of the event had to have been our musicians who happened to be Julia's grandfathers! One is a professional violinist while the other is an amateur accordionist. I did not ask them to do this. It was completely of their own accord that they not only came with their instruments and a prepared repertoire, but even dressed for the occasion (as did Julia's grandmothers)!
Party Bunting: Knotted Nest on Etsy
Boys newsboy caps: Coffeelady of Katt Paws on Etsy
Girls headscarves: GrandmaJansCorner on Etsy
Russian Folk Costumes: www.USToy.com
Thanks Victoria! Readers you can see many more photos of this memorable party here.