Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Imagine a place where dreams come true, a place where the sky is always blue and the bright colours of the rainbow surround you, a place where birds are forever singing and delicious scents abound. That was the place I visited for my niece's Bat Mitzvah.
First of all, my niece, Amanda, is a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz. She has dressed as Dorothy for Halloween on several occasions and impersonated Glenda the Good Witch, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion whenever a costume was required. She has five pairs of ruby red slippers, keeping the ones she has outgrown to give to her daughter one day. Her favourite song is “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” Enough said. So with Amanda's 13th birthday on the horizon, my sister knew what theme would be used.
Amanda sat for hours designing and creating the invitations (such is her passion for all things connected with Oz). The invitations were made in the shape of the castle in the Emerald city. When you opened the castle door there was a colourful rainbow sprinkled with gold and silver glitter and beneath it the details of the party location and time.
The party was held in the evening in a large ballroom of an upscale hotel. I knew the night was going to be spectacular when we first walked down the walkway to the ballroom and a huge rainbow arched across the doorway to the room. The rainbow was freestanding, just before the entrance, and was made from tiny lights of different colours. Walking under the lights and into the party was like entering another world. To begin, a “yellow brick road” weaved its way from the doorway to the tables and dance floor surrounded by rows of red poppies hired from a local prop shop. The effect was incredible.
The dinner tables also looked amazing. Pale blue satin tablecloths covered each table down to the floor. Then organza streamers in rainbow colours – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet – were thrown across the tables, coming halfway down. They were colourful and whimsical and no two tables were exactly alike. In the centre stood round plant pots, sprayed with gold paint, filled with a small bouquet of tall yellow roses tightly bound with a green bow, and surrounded by gold chocolate coins that overflowed from the pot onto the table.
Whilst at the prop shop my sister had hired some additional props to decorate the hall. I don't think she could help herself. Next to the stage there were life size cutouts of Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and the cowardly Lion.
The dance floor stood in the middle of the tables and was large and square. A canopy stood above the floor, creating a magical world underneath. The canopy was blue, like the sky, and clouds and stars were painted on it. Tiny white lights were strung around its perimeter so that when you stood on the dance floor and looked up, it was like looking at the night sky. The canopy was tall enough not to obstruct anyone's view from the dining tables. A stage with a band was set up behind the dance floor and faint mist, or fog, I should say, rose from beneath them, creating a cloud-like feel. It was more important to hear them than to see them.
Once everyone sat down, Amanda went to the dance floor where a long table and microphone had been temporarily placed. Amanda is very comfortable standing in front of people and speaking, and gave a lovely speech thanking everyone for helping her celebrate this important occasion. On the table were thirteen large cylinder candles again in the colours of the rainbow. One by one, she asked special individuals to come up and light a candle. She gave a brief speech about why she chose each person and then named a charity in which a donation was going to be made on behalf of that person. The honoured included her mum, dad, grandmother, grandfathers, great-grandmother (with tears in her eyes), best friends, and me. I was touched to be thought of and so proud of her for giving back to those less fortunate. The moment was captured by a professional photographer, who also took fantastic pictures of Amanda with her school friends dancing and generally larking about.
A large screen and projector were shuffled onto the dance floor next and a short movie was shown. To music from The Wizard of Oz, a 'this is your life tale' was told with moving pictures of a baby who grew into an adorable toddler, happy child and beautiful teenager. There were of course lots of images of Amanda as Dorothy, and many of the people at the party were up on the screen as well. It ended with her first place finish in a school talent show where she sung “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
With formalities aside, the party got started with dancing. A chest full of props that included tiaras, flying monkeys, witches hats, magic wands, and ruby slippers was opened on stage for the kids to have fun with while dancing to the latest tunes. Amanda had a great time with her friends and when dinner was served the kids headed to one side of the ballroom where their tables were. The food had been prepared by a kosher catering service. The kids were served a fun meal that included rainbow tortellini, heart shaped rolls, and fried chicken legs. The adults dined on more traditional party fare and when all had been served, my sister and brother-in-law got up to give a toast.
After dinner a fortune teller came and set up a table and crystal ball, looking into guests futures and promising them good luck. She was amazingly accurate with her insight and the line to visit her was long. No one seemed to mind, especially when a huge cake in the shape of a rainbow, colours and all, was brought out for dessert. The cake was served to guests sitting, standing, and even dancing.
The night was everything Amanda hoped it would be and truly the most enchanting party I'd ever been to. My sister outdid herself and everyone enjoyed being somewhere over the rainbow.