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|THE RECORD-REVIEW||FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2003|
|Where a party becomes an 'event'|
Kiddie Parties, a recent addition to the shopping center at the head of Harris Road, is an idea whose time has come. Millie Bass, former marketing events supervisor for a Fortune 10 company, has taken the concept of a kid's party place and raised the bar several notches.
"As a mom of four children, you 1earn fast about what works and what doesn't for kids to have fun at their parties," said Ms. Bass. She opened this "feel-good" facility on June 21 with the help and inspiration of her husband and business partner, Roger, a corporate computer consultant"
What she's done is to take a soup-to-nuts approach to this daunting task, and then add a few very unique touches of her own. All parents have to do is book a date, choose a theme and show with the kids. Kiddie Parties will then send out the invitations and the thank-you notes.
Remember kids' parties of yore --- when pin the tail on the donkey was the most exciting thing that happened? Well, forget that.
Don't think "party" anymore, think "event". Mrs. Bass' enterprise not only offers seemingly endless themes to choose from but will also supply the food, ice cream, cake, juice and soda, an antique popcorn cart, a cotton candy machine, party favors, theme goodie bags, magicians, musicians, clowns, party coordinators, party hosts, a bubble machine, a fog machine, a state-of-the-art bear-stuffing machine, all the paper goods, and enough balloons to float the place away.
Part of what makes Kiddie Parties' events are the themes that parents and kids can choose as the framework for their celebration. Some of the popular ones are the luau, Victorian tea party, Pirate Adventure, Western party, Sports party, arts and crafts party, Knights party, "kidjama" party, garden tea party, and the "Breakfast in Bedford" party.
"Kids love using their imagination and with the little extra inspiration we create with a theme, their spirits just soar," said Ms. Bass.
Kiddie Parties space is 2,000 square feet and includes an indoor, chilkd-size cottage playhouse that kids walk through as an entrance to the party. The space also has a little bistro area where parents can sit and relax while the children are having fun, a sit-down party room and lots of shiny open-floor space.
Also lending class to the surroundings are the walls that have been entirely handpainted by local artist Maggie Zander.
Millie Bass in front of Kiddie Parties, a "feel-good" facility that promises to take care of every last detail of your chiuld's party.
"The idea of Kiddie Parties is to celebrate life."
Ms. Zander's continuous mural takes lions and teddy bears, giraffes and tigers, wagons and balloons across fields and hills under a beautiful blue sky. It's a breathtaking, extraordinary work of art that stands on its own.
"The mural at KP was sheer fun to create," said Ms. Zander, whose award- winning work has been southt after by collectors and clients for the past 20 years. "The kids can feel the energy of the parading animals, and the vast expanse of blue sky brings in the calming effect of the great outdoors.
"The idea of Kiddie Parties is to celebrate life," said Ms. Bass. "That and to give parents a break"
Regardless of any theme a child or parent might choose, probably the single most popular thing is the bear stuffing machine. But lets not even call it a machine. Maybe we should say "bear incubator," because through Ms. Bass' charm and staging, children really participate in the creation of their very own cuddly animal friend.
In this creation, partygoers can choose from 21 different cuddle-size animals including bears, dogs, cats, lions, tigers, monkies, giraffes, leopards, and zebras. Then, very carefully with the child standing there, Ms. Bass will attach the chosen animal to a machine that inserts the stuffing. In the course of this procedure she'll stop at intervals so the child can test the feel of the animal to see if it should have more or less stuffing until it's just right.
Then, before the animal is fastened up with a Velcro closure, the child makes a "wish upon a star," which is placed in the animal. The child then names his or her new animal friend and is given a birth certificate. There are also bear outfits and accessories that would put Barbie to shame.
"It's amazing how kids experience this," said Ms. Bass, "I''ve seen kids come in with little security blankets that they'll leave behind once they have their new bear."
Another plus about Kiddie Parties is that it only conducts one party at a time; each party lasts 90 minutes.
Call for an event to remember and just leave it in the hands of Millie Bass, a truly inspired party pro. The number is 914-242-0102; the address is 174 Harris Road in Bedford Hills.