My father’s birthday is on July 5, so his birthday gets overshadowed by Fourth of July celebrations pretty much every year. That’s why when it came to the big 5-0, we knew we had to give him the bash of a lifetime.
It’s a little known fact that 50 is one of the most important milestones in Russian culture. After all, they did give President Obama his very own stamp to celebrate his 50th! And I knew my Dad deserved something even greater.
Because of the economy, he wasn’t expecting anything big, so it made it even easier to turn the party into a surprise! The hardest choice was choosing the right venue. He’s not much of a party-er, so I knew I had to choose something fun and unique that would be memorable for everyone.
There were a few things I had to keep in mind when choosing the venue.
The first was that it had to have a private area for our guests. My mom had her own surprise planned – a show with his closest friends and family retelling popular rhymes and stories from their youth. This show included costumes, so of course it had to be super exclusive. The other important factor was to make sure the place had a great option for an open bar, because the fact that Russians mostly drink vodka is more than just a myth.
After a few recommendations, I finally decided to have his party at the racetrack nearby. They not only had private rooms, but also party packages complete with catering and open bar. Not only would we not have to worry about providing food, I knew none of our guests had ever done something like this! We gave each of them a goodie bag filled with tips on how to bet and some money to place a bid on their favorite horse.
When we arrived at the racetrack, my dad had no idea what was going on. His expression changed when he saw an old friend he hadn’t seen in years. His face went to confusion to delight and excitement immediately. I thought he had finally caught on, but he thought it was pure coincidence that they were there! We had obviously done a great job of duping him! Plus, we got to see his surprised face all over again.
Since we had also sponsored a race, we had the chance to take a group photo in the winner’s circle with the champion horse. That photo now hangs in our living room so my father will never forget that day or his new favorite four legged friend.