Gwynn of Gwynn Wasson Designs wanted to design, craft and style a birthday party for her train adoring son, so she transformed her backyard into an amazing “Big Top” circus scene for a Magical Circus Train Party! The animals make huge appearances at the big show, in all forms- decorated cake pops, sugar cookies, cake toppers & fun “escaped” oversized cut-outs!
PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:
- Incredible circus cake with animals in train cars and a fondant tent topper!
- Circus animal sugar cookies in “The Center Ring” on brown sugar sand
- Vintage circus wagon dessert cart with wheels!
- Circus tent curtains, (600 ft!) of patterned pennant banners & oversized balloons!
PARTY DETAILS, as told by Gwynn…
My oldest son, Dashell, is a train-lovin’ little guy! In fact, I can’t remember a time when he didn’t just adore trains. So when it came time to plan his third birthday party, of course the theme had to be trains! But as per his request… “No trains with faces!” So with a little bit of thought and some creativity we arrived at the perfect theme… Vintage Circus Train Party!
For Dashell’s special day, I designed an invitation that had a big top flair but absolutely focused on the excitement of the circus train rolling into town! Balloons, monkeys, elephants, lions and panda bears (Dashell has a thing for pandas!) all helped announce that there was a fun-filled birthday party on the way.
One of the best things about parties is the magic they bring when they help to ignite the imaginations of your guests. As people arrived at Dashell birthday party, I wanted them to feel like they were actually entering the big top. I hung yards of red and white striped fabric from the pergola over our driveway and adorned it with a circus inspired printable Welcome Sign. Then I topped the whole thing off with a swath of fabric bunting reminiscent of the design of the invitation. Just in front of the big top entryway, I layered bunches of huge 36″ balloons (which Dashell just couldn’t resist grabbing and running around with!) And then to give everyone a hint that a little more circus magic might be found inside the party, I placed a large 6′ giraffe popping out of the bushes! As the guests walked down the driveway and toward the party they were met by a warning sign, “CAUTION The circus train has derailed and the animals have escaped! Proceed at your own risk.” Just ahead was an oversized elephant balancing on a ball. This was definitely not going to be your average run of the mill circus train party!
Our entire yard was draped with over 600 feet of custom fabric bunting to help transport everyone to the circus! Large cut out circus animals peeked over walls and out from behind bushes. Overhead half a dozen monkeys swung from the tree limbs and helped to hold up our birthday banner (with the aid of a friendly elephant). We set up our little train for the children to ride on and added a few white balloons so it would seem as though it was puffing around the track.
Oh, the dessert table! How I love, love, love to watch children’s faces light up when they see it!! For this party knew exactly what I wanted to do… a Circus Wagon! How much fun, right?! I will be indebted forever to my sweet husband and our amazing friend, Rog, for their help in making my dream a reality! Using a 5 foot folding table that I had purchased a while back from Walmart, as the base structure, we worked hard to build a vintage circus wagon around it to hold all the goodies. And what AMAZING goodies they were! The vendors I worked with on this party truly out did themselves. The craftsmanship on the sweets was breathtaking!
The centerpiece of the dessert table was a delicious cake, made by Fantasy Frostings, which had the most beautiful fondant circus train chugging around it. Brittany, from Edible Details, did the most exquisite job translating the train from the printables into fondant. The detail-work on it is stunning!
Just in front of the cake I created a 3 ring circus by wrapping styrofoam disks with a little grosgrain ribbon and then smoothing a layer of brown sugar inside the rings to act as dirt. No greatest show on earth would be complete without some fabulous circus acts, so inside my 3 ring circus I stood up some unbelievably gorgeous circus animal cookies, created by Jen from JP Creatibles based on the designs from my printables. I simply can’t get over how she was able to sculpted the contours of the bodies with royal icing! And the detail on the giraffes is insane!
My son adores cake pops. So no party for him is complete without the addition of some sweet deliciousness on a stick! When I reached out Sarah, from Mom’s Killer Cakes and Cookies, I wasn’t sure if she would be able to translate my printable designs into cake pops, but she worked her magic and they were pure perfection! Treats that wonderful need to be displayed in a special way, so I purchased a few circus wagons from Michaels, painted them to match the party decor and voila! We had our very own circus parade winding through the dessert table!
And honestly, it just wouldn’t be a circus party without a little carmel corn and a few cupcakes, right?! So to finish off our sweets buffet, I designed some coordinating popcorn cones as well as some cupcake toppers and wrappers. Then I wrapped a few more styrofoam disks with grosgrain ribbon and mounted them on some old candle holders I had lying around and I had the perfect stands to display the final touches to the dessert table.
The kids were mesmerized by the beautiful sweets and definitely enjoyed every single minute that they spent gobbling them up!
Have you ever seen children spy a train table? It is like watching a moth being drawn to a flame! When we decided to have a train party I knew that the one train table we had would not be enough for all our little guests so I set out to design a second one. I have to admit that every since my son became obsessed with wooden trains, I have become a little obsessed myself with trying to build the perfect track. So this party was perfect excuse to carve out a little time to work on my track building skills and I have to say I was pretty pleased with the original train table layout that I came up with! (For anybody else out there that is looking for a fun train table layout I will be posting the plans on my blog soon.)
I placed huge baskets of trains at each table and the kids LOVED winding their trains over bridges, through tunnels and over crossings! Oh, and of course, crashing into each other’s trains!
And just so their fun wouldn’t have to end with the party, we sent each guest home with their very own wooden circus train set, complete with animals and track.
The best part of all this… Dashell had a blast and loved every moment of his birthday! (And that is really why we all work so hard on parties for our children, right?!)