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Native American-themed Birthday Party

If you dare to predict how kids will turn out based on their parents, then Dotty Rico is destined to be one cool girl. Parents Alicia and Adam threw a second birthday party for their daughter that reflected their collective fascination with Native American culture and wowed guests’ eyes and taste buds. Adam and Alicia each have some Native American lineage, and they make an effort to center Dotty’s parties around different cultures. “We want to have a little bit of learning and experience what others experience,” Alicia says. So for full effect, they hired the leader of a Native American dance group from Oklahoma who brought his four grandsons for a performance in full regalia. All the kids got into it, especially Dotty. She’d previously seen the group at a Native American convention and danced with them on stage.

As if that weren’t enough to entertain the kids, the guests played in and around kid-sized teepees, sewn with polka-dotted and floral fabrics and constructed by an artist friend of Alicia’s. Even the centerpieces for the kids’ table were interactive, with shallow sand boxes holding succulents and painted horses. The pink tablecloths and turquoise chairs helped carry the party’s color scheme, which happens to be the two principal colors in the Ricos’ home. They had already acquired much Southwestern décor from trips to New Mexico, and the couple, owners of the flower design studio Bows and Arrows, made most of the new items themselves. Alicia fashioned colorful headdresses for the kids and a special one for Dotty, who wore hot pink moccasins, a side purse with fringe and a bright geometric dress. To make rainstick shakers, Alicia filled tubes with rice and beans and wrapped them in wood-grain contact paper; she also crafted bejeweled goody bags reminiscent of medicine pouches that the kids could stuff with candy corn and mini dreamcatchers.

Feathered cookies and two gorgeous cakes graced the buffet table – one a teepee cake and the other sporting three tiers and chevron layers baked inside. A friend and personal chef catered the party with foods like succotash and a child-friendly version of pupusas with PB and J. “Gathered” fruits and rustic grilled veggies were set on top the snack table lined with a cowhide in place of a tablecloth. The festivities assuredly whet the partygoers’ – and Dotty’s – appetites for experiencing all that world cultures have to offer.