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As the school year dawns, my daughter's birthday approaches. She's an end of August child, making her the youngest in her class. But, unlike my own birthday at the start of summer, she gets to celebrate her birthday outside most of the time.

It's a wonderful time of year for a party, and we've planned pirate parties, craft parties, zoo parties, pool parties, petting farm parties. I enjoy the planning probably more than she does the event. However, as she gets older, she wants less of Mom and more of her own influence on the party planning.

Still, she likes to have ideas from which to choose. My work usually introduces me to many interesting people, which has influenced some of the themes. If you are looking for something, check out Martha Stewart's Web site, which has plenty of good ideas (and they don't have to be as perfect as hers).

I'm a huge fan of Birthday Express, which can package all your party needs together, but Christmas Tree Shops is also a good source of party gifts and ideas. I frequent Target and Michael's for goodies for the gift bags.

Finally, no party would be complete without a pinata. But don't buy the packaged pinata candy from the store, it tends to be old and may have been sitting on a hot truck for a long period of time. Clip your coupons and shop sales. Dollar Stores and Big Lots are also good spots for inexpensive candy.

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Tags: Erie, birthday, gift, girl, ideas, parties, party, pinata, summer

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Coming up

Greek Festival
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church
4376 West Lake Rd.

26th Annual Greek Festival will be held July Friday through Sunday  The Festival will be held at the church, located at 4376 West Lake Road in northwest Millcreek, parallel to the Erie International Airport. The hours are Friday, July 11, 2:30 until 11:00 p.m., Saturday, July 12, 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 13, from 12:00 noon until 9:00 p.m. Admission is FREE and there is plenty of FREE PARKING next to the Church. Additional parking is available at Westlake Middle School (east of the church). Handicap parking is near the church grounds. The Festival will be held regardless of the weather, with sufficient indoor and outdoor space.

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