In the good old days birthday parties were simple, if you were lucky enough to have a party at all.
In this new age of super size meals, grande lattes and mega fountain drinks we have grown accustomed to the logic ” bigger is better.” In some cases going big can be better but often we sacrifice quality for quantity. This trend has also hit the birthday party circuit. Now I am not knocking a huge celebration, especially when hiring clowns, face painters and other entertainers comes into play but in some cases too much activity may be a downfall.
Pro: Having a few activities for the kids like the petting zoo and some party games or a magic show and face painter can make for a fun filled day. For the older kids maybe laser tag and a DJ or even a band could be in order. Some fun foods like pizza, hot dogs or burgers along with the birthday cake and you have an awesome party.
Con: The downside of this entertainment upscale is when things are thrown into the mix all at once, then chaos can ensue. My colleagues and I have worked such events and most of us agree that these can be a challenge. The MEGA PARTY can have huge guest lists numbering into the 100’s, a meal that is fit for a wedding, a band, DJ, balloon twisters, magicians, photo booths and the list goes on. Often all of this entertainment is happening at one time creating a sensory overload, not to mention the strain on the pocket book and stress on the family.
How does this affect our performance?
For the balloon twister a show like this might not be too bad as long as you are prepared to twist like the wind and try to keep the designs simple. Face painters can do the same but I feel that their task is a bit more challenging with a massive crowd. Even a quick paint can take more time than a simple balloon animal. For the magician these shows can be a disaster. As we stated parties of this caliber are planed in such a way that much of the entertainment is going on at once. Have you ever tried to to a magic trick trying to yell over a band? This is not a very successful show. With that number of children even the best behaved will get impatient and start causing mischief if they don’t get their balloon or face paint in a timely manor. The dilemma is greater for the magician who is trying their best to be heard over all of this ruckus, even with a sound system the battle for the sound waves can be pointless.
Is there a solution?
Like with any show we as the performer can and should explain to the hosts the complications that can occur with all of the acts going on at once. A suggestion would be to allow the magician or clown act to go on early while everyone is still fresh and attentive. Often the band or DJ is there for the older kids and adults so this is the perfect time for the balloon twister and face painter to start working. Suggesting that the kids entertainment may be set up in an area away form the music is helpful so that we can hear the tiny voices as they request their paint design or balloon sculpture. These suggestions may or may not be taken to heart by the client and it is of course our choice whether or not to accept the gig. Asking the host to allow you to hire helpers or a second painter or clown to twist balloons is another great idea. Helpers can assist with crowd control, keep the lines organized, gather children for the show or just run for supplies so that the entertainer may keep moving at a steady pace. An extra fee of course would be reflected on the bill for the assistant or additional performer.
Ultimately the choice is up to us as performers as to which jobs we will take. If you feel confident that your needs as a hired worker will be met at one of these massive events then why not move forward and book the show. We hope our insight helps all of you in the journey to a successful career in family entertainment.