When we met our family goal of visiting all 50 states, I had already started planning a party to celebrate. I wasn't sure of the details, but I knew I wanted it to have a 50 States theme. I love a good party theme (scroll all the way down to see past themed parties I've thrown) and "50 States" is a GREAT theme. It's completely different than a patriotic party, which is focused on the USA as a country. A 50 States party focuses on the individual states within the country. I'm happy to report that it all came together and we had a wonderful time! Affiliate links below - thanks for supporting my site.
How to Throw a 50 State Party
I love hosting dinner parties, but I wanted the 50 State Party to include more people than I'm comfortable having over for dinner. I also wanted it to be more casual so that I could just enjoy the party instead of focusing on cooking. I settled on a Sunday afternoon, open house style, and invited around 30 local friends who have been following our travels. This is the invitation I sent:
I used the final graphic from our year-by-year progression GIF, then added the party information to it. I thought it was self-explanatory, but I can see how someone might have thought we were having a 50th birthday party (I'm 51 and Steve is 47). Oops! I should have clarified on the invitation that we were celebrating visiting all 50 states!
The Guest Book:
I wanted a way to document which of the 50 states our guests had visited. My solution was to create a "guest book" of sorts, in the form of a US map tablecloth that I hung on the wall. The tablecloth comes with pens, so I asked each guest to write their name in each state they'd visited. It's big enough that multiple people could write on it at the same time.
It was so fun to learn which states everyone had visited. All of our guests had been to California (obviously), but the only other two states that everyone had visited were Arizona and Hawaii. All but one person (the youngest) had been to Nevada. Other states visited by most of our guests included Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. The majority had been to Maryland and Virginia, due to their proximity to Washington D.C. The only state that no one had visited (except the three deRosiers, of course) was North Dakota.
Finding patriotic party supplies is easy, but I wanted to decorate with what we already had on hand. I moved Steve's pin board and Trevor's US Capitol LEGO to a small table across from the front door. I lined the stairs with Trevor's collection of state flags. On the piano, I put my homemade patriotic coasters, state flash cards from my teaching days, some mini puzzles, Trevor's 50 State Album, and the certificate we got when we joined the Best for Last Club.
On the wall by the door, I hung a "little d" wreath that Jonna brought us. It began life as a "capital P" wreath, but she moved the hanger to make it perfect for the deRosiers. I surrounded it with reference maps from my teaching days. We used these for one of our games.
I put the tablecloth map on Trouble's wall. It's heartbreaking to type that; I miss him so much. His StickTogether portrait is still hanging on the back wall of the dining room.
Anyway, between the map and the portrait, I hung two of our 50 state t-shirts. (We were wearing the third.)
I left plenty of empty space so that our guests could hang their projects. Tomorrow I'll tell you about that activity, along with the 50 State games and puzzle we did.