Choo Choo Train, Vintage Railroad, Americana Themed Second Birthday

This Vintage Railroad, or, as my son calls it “Choo Choo Train” Birthday party was amazing so I have to share the details! The day of the party was perfect, 67 and sunny (the weather has since turned to fall and we’ve got cornstalks flanking the front door and pumpkins on our porch BUT I promised a post with all the details – better late than never). The party spanned my entire house. My driveway had some couches to lounge on, a table with beverages, snacks, and also in the front yard, a bounce house!

Front yard with bounce house

On the front door I posted one of  custom posters I designed, that I got printed at the local office supply store for $10.  If you’re interested in purchasing a customized version of this vintage train themed party package, please visit my Etsy store by clicking here. I offer everything you see in this post and also options for customized designs.

Front Door Poster 1

Once you entered the front door you were greeted with the “Happy Birthday” Banner. The banner background is made from vintage train engineering drawings, old postcards and photographs of trains, train stations and train menus. It stretched perfectly along a bare stretch of wall at the entrance of our house (the same wall where I hung my LOs monthly milestones last year at his 1 year Nautical birthday). Don’t mind the last part of the banner, that’s my LOs name (blurred out for privacy :) I have these banners and a printable version of them for sale in my Etsy store.

Happy Birthday Banner and Photos

Happy Birthday Banner and Photos 1

Happy Birthday Banner Details 3

Below it I hung pictures from his 2nd year photo shoot which we did at Greenfield Village with all of the trains. Don’t we have the best photographer! I absolutely love her!

In the living room, was the “baggage coach” where guests were instructed to leave their gifts and grab a Train Engineer (Conductor) Hats, (<– Click the link to get them, less than $10 for a dozen!), red bandanas (I got mine at the dollar store for $1 each) and Wood Train Whistles  (<–Click here – again, less than $10 for a dozen)!

Baggage Coach

My dining room was set up as the “dining car & bar car”. The buffet with all of the drinks was actually moved outside before the party started so I could put the cake and all of the desserts on the buffet for the party and all of the food on the dining room table. Because it was the end of the season I got the beverage tub on clearance for $6 at a Farm and Fleet store up in Northern Michigan a few weeks before the party. We were looking for some camping equipment for our camping trip but walked away with that for $5.99 (vs. normal $15.99) instead.  I got the drink dispensers on clearance for $5 at Walmart – the benefit of having a September birthday. We had lemonade, water, and apple juice in them for the kids. We also had Coke, bottled water, beer and Angry Orchard for the parents, along with wine and liquor.

Drink Table int he "Bar Car"

Bar Car Menu Sign 1

Water Bottle Covers 2

One of the kids favorite things were these plastic mason jar cups with straws. I figured it would be a good idea to have something lidded for all the kiddos to use and take home with them. If you want to buy some of these plastic mason jar you can find them in my etsy store here. I had custom vinyl stickers printed to match the decor (I have options for stickers that match the decor with no names or can design custom ones for you in my Etsy store). The glasses are BPA free and although they are supposed to be hand wash only I have been washing them in the dishwasher and they have held up really well.

Mason Jar Glasses 4

Mason Jar Glasses 2

We decided to get both a bounce house and have a “choo choo train” come for an hour. If you’re in the Metro Detroit area I would recommend Dan Dan the Choo Choo Man (they don’t have a website but here’s their Yelp page). They were great, even recommending that we only needed an hour, not 2 like I had thought.

When everyone arrived they dropped their gifts in the “baggage claim car” and grabbed their goodies in anticipation of the trains arrival. When the train pulled up my son was jumping (he gets like 2 inches off the ground), clapping, and yelling. He got in the front car and the other kids piled in. I got to ride the maiden voyage in the caboose. While we were all loading up I could hear my son getting impatient in the front “all aboard” he kept yelling (I didn’t even know he was familiar with that saying). We live on a quiet cul-de-sac so the train did a bunch of figure 8′s . It was perfect for the kiddos.

Train Outfit 1

Train Ride 1

The train did it’s thing for the hour. Some kids who were initially scared got over it and took their turns, some kids stayed on the entire time. The train was great because even adults can ride! At the end of the train’s hour my son got to “drive”… needless to say, he was disappointed that he couldn’t figure out how to get the thing moving.

While everyone watched the train and enjoyed their beverages I got the food ready in the “dining car”.  Here’s the menu I printed up to display with the food. If you purchase the party pack on Etsy it will include one that I will customize for you. 

 

Everyone raved about the food! I was so happy because we’re gluten free, dairy free, soy free and I’m always a little worried people won’t like it. We made most everything from scratch and tried to use as much Michigan made stuff as possible – here’s the “menu”. The main dish, Crock Pot Root Beer BBQ Pulled Chicken, got a TON of compliments – it’s great when you have both people with and without allergies, we had gf and regular buns.

Crock Pot Rootbeer BBQ Pulled Chicken

I absolutely LOVE to top mine with my homemade corn relish (I made up a refrigerator batch specifically for the party from farmers market veggies). We also had Quinoa “Pasta” Salad (something I came up with to fill the pasta salad void in my life after giving up gluten – gf noodles just don’t work cold), fruit salad (from the farmers stand), homemade coleslaw (dairy free and soy free), strawberry and chicken mixed greens salad {my mom made it and it was delicious), baked beans, and of course, snacky things like potato chips, gf pretzels, and these addictive corn pop things by Better Made (a Detroit company) that I found at Walmart and haven’t been able to find since! I didn’t take any pictures of the food or setup during the actual party because I was too busy playing hostess but the table was set completely in blue and red accented by these vintage Americana napkins.  Actually, I designed the whole train theme around these “patriotic” napkins I found online. If you plan on purchasing the party kit I would recommend grabbing these too! They have a whole bundle with plates and cups but it’s “patriotic” not train so although it matches, I only bought the napkins.

You may be thinking, what about dessert? Well, this post is long and I also made a TON of desserts. Because of that, I’ll be doing a second post on the food and dessert at my LOs Vintage Railroad Birthday party (but it will probably be after I post all of my Halloween goodies) so stay tuned…

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