Youth Sideshow Holiday Party, Carnival! at Bowlmor Lanes, New York
December 10, 2009
Let's just get this out there right away: Mr. Youth threw the best holiday party I have ever been to. EVER. You read that right. The. Best. If you're an event planner for your company, this is your "how to" manual, and I am your guide. I accept flowers, pizza, and baby French bulldogs as thank-yous.
So what are the necessary elements to make your next party record-making?
Big Budget. They must be killing it out there. Either that or their company headcount is small enough that throwing a party under "The Big Top" isn't too painful on the pockets. Mr. Youth began as a college-age focused social marketing agency, hence the "youth" but, according to Evan Kraut, Director of Business Development for Mr. Youth, they've grown and expanded much further. To this, I suggested they change their name to Mr. Tooth to cover almost all age groups.
Carnis. The first person I met was "Stonehenge" the dunk tank guy (Get Tanked!). He immediately asked my date, M Booth's Alyssa Galella, if she was old enough to be there. He sized us up at 14 and 15. The important part to remember here is that he offered to tell me "the real story behind carnivals" if I could handle it. He promised tales of Mobsters! Decapitations! Carnival Rides gone bad! Alyssa and I oohed and ahhed as he delivered us a 2fer -- the story of a young girl who was ejected from The Zipper and literally lost her head. "Clean off her shoulders!" he boasted.
Green wands that twist to light up, twist to conserve that same very precious light. It's true, everyone likes to look down while they're sipping whatever dangerous concoction that was and see the frosty glow of Ecto-green. Within minutes of the official party kickoff, I could see dots of bright green.
Stilt walkers. And if your stilt walker can dance, even better.
Oompa Loompas. If you're not familiar, Oompa Loompas are those little orange fellows with shocking green hair from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." The guys last night were passing out candy and maybe, just maybe, dance-fought me. I was happy to find out that if any of the Carnival workers were caught calling them midgets, they would be immediately fired. So another key thing is to throw your party at a venue that cares about eliminating a hostile workplace.
Dance-offs. Mr. Youth no doubt describes their employees as talented, but it doesn't stop at the sale. They can dance. From the first bars of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" to the end thrust of "Thriller," a handful of Youthers destroyed the dance floor. Pocket-sized blond and Mr. Youth Senior Account Executive Kelly Buchanan, stole the show, and later showed off a battle wound - her wrapped big toe with its nearly gone nail that did nothing to slow her down. I could watch people dance for hours.
A Snake Handler. A sexy Snake Handler. A sexy Snake Handler that will let you hold her snake. A sexy Snake Handler that will later put a toupee on the snake. That snake had to be so pissed.
Tots. Not the pants-pooping variety, the potato variety. I swear that buffet had an endless supply of tater tots. I saw a certain PR girl plucking tots from the chaffing dish throughout the night. I was starving after the PRNewser party, which had food, but man, those meatballs were lethal, so the discovery of empanadas, mid-size burgers, and tater tots was like discovering a sack full of puppies with all of their shots. Alive, obviously.
Games. Games like "Who Darted?" I shouldn't have to explain why I giggle every time I read that. Impossible games where guests attempted (many failed) to win goldfish, to shoot out stars with a bb guns, and exhibit feats of strength (or lack thereof).
Props. Within seconds of the trunk of boas, top hats, glittery exaggerated sunglasses, and sequined neckties hitting the floor, the Funhouse room transformed from party frocks and dress socks to velvet pimp hats and even ghoul masks, with Doug Akin, Managing Partner, Brand Development at Mr Youth, playing ring-master.
Good people who either genuinely enjoy each other or are great at improv. Unless you knew, you'd never know this was an internal company holiday party. I would have guessed maybe a birthday party or joint Bachelor/Bachelorette party, but certainly not a gathering of coworkers. Included in this cast of characters are some of the people I met last night: Brandon Evans, Managing Partner, Chief Strategy Officer, Mr Youth; Laura Levitan, Chief Evangelist/Partner at Mr Youth; her husband, Stu Levitan; Stuart Elliott, advertising columnist at The New York Times; Kenny Heinau, Account Executive at Mr. Youth; Chris Ayres, Associate Creative Director at Mr. Youth; Matt McGee, Producer at Mr. Youth; Matt Britton, Founder & Managing Partner at Mr Youth; and two very limber contortionists.
I'm still smiling as I look at the pile on my floor. It's a salad of green feathers, gold and magenta beads, a tiny stuffed turtle that my boyfriend for the night, Alyssa, won for me, and silver-glitter-colored Elton John specs. Thanks, Mr. Youth, for including me in your internal holiday party -- and thank you to Kristen Bryan of DiGennaro Communications for getting that invitation to my inbox.
Snakes! Contortionists! Dancing! - it's all on Flickr! (lots of photos, so check back later for more updates!)