Backyard Birthday Carnival

My college roommate, Gina, and her family just celebrated her daughter’s first birthday. It seem like just yesterday that we were throwing her a baby shower. Wait. Maybe that’s because I just blogged about it a few weeks ago. Either way, I can’t believe it’s been a year! Gina had a birthday carnival on the brain. That’s the ticket! So I whipped up some custom invitation options, and here’s the one she chose.

We batted around some other sweet ideas for the party, and I think you’ll agree that Gina did not disappoint. Enjoy these photos from Ava’s First Birthday–an adorable Backyard Carnival Party!

Here’s the birthday girl doing a little pre-party horsing around with the carnival games!

Gina’s husband, Matt, built this awesome ticket booth. Dibs!

Rain, rain go away! Bad weather caused them to go to Party Plan B. They hustled to move what they could inside, but no worries! Things were lookin’ mighty festive in there!

Look at this sweet personalized birthday banner done carnival style! It framed the window near this adorable table.

Pinwheels, animal crackers, cotton candy. Yum! I love that adorable striped fabric and LOVE LOVE LOVE what they did with it on the ceiling!

I hope they left it up. So festive! And speaking of festive, how super sweet is the birthday girl in this smocked carnival-themed party dress? Perfect. (Update: For those of you who have asked, the dress is Little Threads brand purchased from!)

Check out this popcorn machine. I would so love to have one at my house!

And of course, something to wash it down with–Colonel Smith’s Magic Elixir.

And look at this adorable cookie bouquet. How fun!

The cupcakes picked up on the colors and the polka dots from the party invitation. The design is so simple, but so joyful! Seriously. Don’t these cupcakes just epitomize a party mood?

Everyone had a BIG time despite the rain, and when the little guests left they got these happy treats! Adorable.

Here’s a closeup of the favor tags.

Once the guests had all gone home, Gina sent out thank you notes on these matching folding note cards.

What a charming first birthday carnival! Thanks G, for sharing and to Matt for playing along. Happy 1st Birthday Ava!

13 thoughts on “Backyard Birthday Carnival

  1. Thanks Christina! The photo opp banners were from Hobby Lobby. They have a great selection of carnival-themed items if you have a location near you!

  2. Love your party ideas!! I was wondering if you could tell me where I could purchase a circus/carnival photo prop like the one in your pic above (with the elephant and lion head cut outs). Thanks!!

  3. Your circus party is adorable. I was googling circus parties and so glad yours came up. I want to do a circus theme for my daughters first birthday and the dress I want is the one the little girl is wearing. Only problem is I can’t find it in 12m anywhere. I know this sounds crazy but would you please give her mom my email because I’d love to buy it from her full price if she’s willing to sell it. I’m desperate!! Thanks so much!
    Email is

    Ava is so beautiful (just like her sweet mother)…. all of these ideas are the cutest!

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