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A Stapelman Carnival

Posted by joeabbott on July 13, 2013

I’d mentioned earlier that we threw a party for my wife’s family, so I thought I’d share a few pictures and words about that event.

The weeks leading up to the gala were pretty busy; moreso for Suzy than me, but she really enjoys the planning and putting together a fun event. Our summer get-together usually has a “theme” and this year she chose a carnival theme and told folks to “wear a fun hat, bring a fun food”. While there were more fun hats than fun food, we didn’t go for wanting eats, all who showed up were in a merry mood and the day was festive.


Centerpiece to the event were the games. Suzy put together distractions for the young and young at heart; all of them came out great and were enjoyed by the extended Stapelman clan.

The Duck Races was probably my favorite. Suzy made a “chutes and ladders” sort of board game that featured rubber ducky game tokens where people tossed a single die and tried to get their piece to the end of the board first. Simple and fun and enjoyed by many of our guests.


The Penny Toss was a nod to me and an attempt to part our guests from the copper coins. I “collect” (AKA, save in a big bucket) pennies and this game asked people to toss their cent pieces at a narrow-necked glass jar.

To our surprise, several people managed to get their pennies into the jar and were awarded a trip to the prize chest! Tim, Suzy’s brother, even managed to land two pennies in the jar!

Nice work, Tim!

P1030628P1030567P1030635I mentioned the Cornhole Toss game in my post about making them but it was gratifying both to see the game being used, as well as seeing it stand up to a little abuse! We had a 2-year old at the party and he very much enjoyed tossing the bags and either standing on or body surfing the boards. He was gentle and, fortunately, avoided tripping or falling off the boards!

The Ball Toss game challenged participants to drop ping-pong sized balls into the mouths of differing sized jars. It was much trickier than you would think! I played several rounds and only managed to get the balls into the largest jars. They’d seem to hit the rim and bounce all over!

Not pictured by part of the fun was an old fashioned “knock down some stacked cans with a wiffle ball” game, or Knockdown Toss. Suzy and I have been enjoying soup for dinners in which we race home from work and then off to the gym, so we had plenty of cans: you could stack a 10-can pyramid and still have a couple extra!

We setup a small table with the cans on it, marked a line some 15’ back, and dropped down a bucket of balls. All afternoon you’d hear them clanging around and, at the end of the party, we were one ball short … pretty sure that ricocheted into the neighbor’s yard over the fence be we haven’t found it yet!P1030568

And finally there was Chicken Bingo. Less an active game of participation and more a gambling game where we placed a 3×4 grid on the lawn, numbered the squares 1-12, and had people picked a number. We then placed a chicken on the grid and the first place she did her duty was the “winner”. A bit crass and yet it was a crowd pleaser. Know your audience, I guess!


P1030560P1030587In addition to fun distractions, we provided grilled burgers and franks, peanuts in the shell and popcorn, and a bunch of sodas. For those with a sweet tooth, we provided homemade ice cream and spun a dozen cotton candy treats!

Our guests brought lots and lots of other foods: we had chips, dips, salads, veggies, Jell-O jigglers, fruit trays, and candy! No one went hungry and all had their “Fair Food” fix!

Julie gets the prize for “funnest food” as her fruit plate had the fruit cut into shapes, pushed onto sticks, and placed in a centerpiece bucket! It looked great! And I’m sure she knows her Jell-O jigglers are one of my favs. During Easter she makes them in the shape of eggs but in celebration of Independence Day, we got red-white-and-blue jigglers!



As you can see from the pictures above, the carnival big-top red and white stripe theme was used on the many posters, table cloths, and lining the game stations. It was a great theme that drew everything together. We also had streamers, bunting, and the circular hanging things like the one on our front door (see picture, right). I’ll be really candid here … I’m not sure what “bunting” is … I thought it was a small bird … but Suzy tells me we had it aplenty.

As I indicated, the pictures should tell the story. Smile


We had our picture taken with each group of guests before they left, a keepsake for us to remember those who came to share the day with us. Our many thanks to all our wonderful friends and relatives … you really made for a fun day!









My favorite images from the day

It was a grand day but a few images stand out as standouts. In no particular order …

P1030562 P1030595 P1030590P1030600  P1030633


And that’s it, our day creating a carnival for the family, my in-laws. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves at least as much as we did. And a thank you to you for dropping in for a peek.


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