Sunday, June 27, 2010


Hoedown... even the word still conjures up complete exhaustion.  It was a party - a big party.  I always promised I would blog about it and here we are a year later!  My daughter, Chelsea, graduated from high school a year ago... so fine - '09.  Yeah.  Anyway, my good friend, Brenda, and I decided to do a joint high school graduation party since her daughter, Claire, was also an oh-niner.
So these two...
 grew into these two.

Anyway, I'm one for a theme and when Brenda said Claire wanted a hoedown the gears started spinning.  Perfect.  They were both heading "out west" for college, so a western hoedown it would be.

The hoedown started with the invitations.
The girls got on an old vintage rocking horse for the photo.
We had an online version and a mailed version of the invite.
Boy, did I have fun finding western fonts.

These were posters at the party.

We decided there would be a jail at the party.
Thanks again to the guy at the appliance store for the refrigerator box.

 The dads would be sheriffs and haul party guests to jail in handcuffs.
Here's my husband doing his redneck southern sheriff routine.

Once inside the jail, prisoners could earn their freedom
by squealing on the graduates.

The jail became covered in confessions/clues.

We had fun with the decorations.

The welcome table featured photos of the girls along with a book for each that guests could sign.  Of course e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g had a western theme from the frames to the crates to the bales of hay.  Brenda made those adorable craft paper/royal blue card boxes for each graduate - love the big tag with their names.

We set up a western theme photo area complete with real bales of hay, cowboy and horse cutouts and dead or alive posters.  There's Keaton goofing around.  The rest of the story here is that we had a whole desert scene backdrop to hang on the house - floor to ceiling - but ran out of set up time... (sigh)... the best laid plans.  It was a sweltering day and Brenda and I are a dangerous pair who clearly over-planned.  Our familiar pattern of being under the gun and in a last minute frenzy long ago led to the invention of the word, "Brenzy," the combination of Brenda and Frenzy.  This "Brenzy" was a hum-dinger.

Still, families had fun posing for photographs and wearing the mustaches we supplied.  I like this picture with the baby holding the rope.  The mustaches were a big hit at the party.

There were games for the kids... target practice here.
He's aiming for the cans I promise.

No hoedown is complete without Sprecher Rootbeer on tap.  Our menu also included, sloppy Joes, macaroni and cheese, calico beans, nachos, coleslaw, corn on the cob, watermelon, tortilla chips and cowboy caviar (loaded salsa), veggie trays, rice crispy treats and scotcheroos.  We were bent on everyone eating out of metal pie tins chuckwagon style.  We carried the theme to the enth degree - our husbands were patient as usual.

Nobody left hungry.

Here's Chelsea with fellow grad, Matt, and two of her all time favorite teachers, Mrs. Berry - 4th grade (left) and Mrs. Machi - kindergarten (right).  They even got into the western spirit with their sporty bandanas!  This tent was set up with huge photo collages (behind) and for dancing.  We had a western step dance DVD playing for those who wanted to give it a try.  Mostly people used this area to get out of the unrelenting sun.

The 23-song party iMix soundtrack was playing the whole time.  We had everything from Hannah Montana's Hoedown Throwdown to Gene Autry's Back in the Saddle Again to Muletrain, Rawhide and Bonanza.  And let's not forget Riders in the Sky, Woody's Roundup and The Magnificent Seven!  Oh my gosh I love that iMix - created great atmosphere, too.

The best part was how much the girls loved their graduation party.
Know anyone who wants some hoedown supplies?


  1. Your work and planning was worth it! Claire and I enjoyed it greatly :)

  2. Love the invitations! Would you be willing to share how to make them? My son is graduating this year.


Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet-
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

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