This outdoor 60th birthday “pub crawl” bash for my Dad is definitely a party to remember, and not for the memories I typically associate with birthday parties. There is quite the story leading up to this pub crawl inspired backyard surprise birthday party. The birthday party started the way any other celebration would, up early to prep, with my checklist of last minute things that needed to be assembled, day of; move the tables outside, hang the banners, assemble the food etc. but had a wrench unlike any other party that ended with 2 ambulances and a trip to the ER. What, what!?!
As we were well on our way to decorating for the pub crawl birthday party on this beautiful outdoor May day, my Dad (who we had to wrangle to help since he lives next door and wanted in on the action) started to feel his heart racing. Within minutes, we knew something serious was wrong and had to call 911. I have always been a large supporter of our first responders, and this was another day that I was so thankful for them. Two ambulances were here within minutes and it was a good thing we called, they hooked him up to the machines and said it was a SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia), his heart was beating over 200 BMP. The wonderful paramedics were able to get it under control, but my Dad was still taken to the ER in the ambulance to run some additional tests.
I was so thankful to be able to follow along and meet them at the hospital. With crazy C0vid protocols around here, I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed in. We sent a jumble full of texts with a TBD on the party status, but the doctors and paramedics (who wished my Dad Happy Birthday a million times ❤️) said, don’t cancel the party, we’ll have you out as fast as we can!
After all the craze, we decided to proceed with the party after all and this makes this party extra fun and special.
The Show Must Go On!
The theme for this pub crawl was actually inspired during the lockdown from a customer of mine, who had a son graduating from college and wanted to give him the pub crawl experience, but adhere to safety regulations that didn’t allow them inside local bars. They decided to go “block party” style and turn their yard into a pub crawl. The family all sponsored their own drink/bar and I made them custom banners for Howard’s Honkey Tonk, serving Whiskey Sours, Uncle Allan’s beer garden, Aunt Nancy’s Martini Bar and I thought this was the most brilliant idea that I was saving in my back pocket for the perfect occasion.
Since I spent the last 2-3 hours before the party that I would usually be putting the final touches on everything at the hospital, all the finishing touches of the party were put together by my amazing husband and family members through texts and my scribbled to do list and I can’t even put into words how much I loved watching everyone pitch in to bring this party to life for my Dad (and let’s be real, for me too since they all knew how much time I had spent planning this bash). Thankfully, this was one of the most prepared I had been for the party, since there were 4 different “bars” I was assembling so I think my family knocked this one out of the park bringing it all to life. ❤️❤️❤️
The McKinley's Cantina
In case you didn’t know, my love for Mexican food runs deep, so it was a no-brainer that our family was in charge of the Cantina with Chippin' Dippin' and Margarita Sippin'! The personalized Cantina banner tied the Mexican vibe together, and I have turned it into a birthday banner in my shop.
We premixed a large batch of margaritas, put chips in grab and go single serve bags, made fresh pico de gallo and thanks to my brother, the chef, had a delicious smokey tomatillo salsa to complete the bar. I was able to snip fresh rhododendron sprigs from our neighbors yard in the beautiful rainbow colors, which unfortunately were left out while we were at the hospital, so they were a little wilted by the time we got the in water, but I certainly wasn’t going to let that ruin anything!
The custom fringe background was a labor of love that was so fun to assemble with my kiddos. This show stopper costs less than $10.00 made out of strips of plastic tablecloths tied to an old piece of repurposed garden fencing.
KnL Wine Cellars
My amazing family assembled all the appetizers I had prepped for the “winery” and helped me rush them to the table when we got home, because we were all ravished! The cantaloupe, prosciutto, mozzarella balls with a balsamic vinaigrette were insanely good and such an unexpected combo.
The winery name KnL stood for Kyle, Nicole, Larry. My brother, Dad and myself. Glad we snuck this photo in even though we were all absolutely wiped after the day we had!
The Gourlie's Whiskey Bar
The main course of the evening was served by my brother, and included a brisket he had smoked all night and day. Designing the banner for his bar was so much fun, and so easy! Kyle is a retired Marine and loves Whiskey and America so the Whiskey barrel- americana banner was perfect for him, and a Whiskey tasting bar is great for any guys birthday (I listed it in my shop for a birthday banner too!) We missed some of the decor I had planned for his bar, due to the whole detour to the ER thing, but once again, I wasn’t going to let any of those “little things” derail this beautiful collaboration and celebration!!!
The Grandkids Sweet Shoppe
And to round everything off, (I really had to chuckle with this one.) The grandkids were in charge of the desserts and some aunties helped them pick my cake plates out and display some premade Cash and Carry bite sized desserts onto them. They were VERY proud of how the assembled these beauties, so I just smiled and said “wonderful job.” Heart Full.
At the end of the day, this will be a party I will never forget. I was so grateful for my Dad’s health, and can’t put into words how much my family came through for me. I felt so proud that they wanted to make this perfect for me, because they knew how much it meant to me to surprise my Dad with this party. I will always look at these photos and smile, because it took an entire army to put this together and I think each person that helped, felt a fraction of the pride that I feel when I plan celebrations like this, and that was truly a gift.
We spent the evening plopped in our lawnchairs, grazing the tables, laughing and enjoying time spent with family, after a year being in a pandemic, which we all recognize, was the biggest gift any of us could receive.
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