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Happily Ever After Handles Any And All Events

By Marina Jokic

Kids love parties, and not just any parties, but themed ones especially. Owner of Happily Ever After in Reading, Pennsylvania Kathy Lavanga capitalized on the idea of thematic events which helped her conceptualize the idea for her current business.

Lavanga wanted to do something more than just plan events and parties. She wanted to truly engage the guests and include more interactive elements like games, role-playing, and arts and crafts. In fact, her two children gave her the idea for Happily Ever After.

"When [my children] were small, there was either Chuck E. Cheese or bowling parties for birthdays or something at someone's house, and that was about it," Lavanga said. "Most of these were basically mayhem with cake."

Not being a conformist, Lavanga liked to organize theme parties for her kids that encouraged them to dress up, play games, and engage in fun activities. Seeing the joy that she was bringing to children first-hand, Lavanga was encouraged by her friends to go beyond personal parties and scale her idea into an actual company. In 2005, Happily Ever After opened its doors to those eager to break the mold of the usual kids' party.

"It's not an off-the-rack kind of place," she said. "Plus, folks like the fact that everything is ready for them when they arrive: we have all the tables and chairs set up in their choice of colors, all the paper goods laid out, and we even clean it all up afterwards."

Originally, Happily Ever After held its parties at the Dance Centers in Mt. Penn, a place which Lavanga's friend Michelle Schartel allowed her to use free of charge. Approximately four years ago, Lavanga moved the business to a new location in Green Hills which offers a bigger space, private parking, and can therefore house many different events. From baby showers and family reunions to children's camps and anniversaries, Happily Ever After has the bandwidth to do mostly anything.

"I think what people like most is that it's a pretty facility with a cozy look about it, and seems more like hosting a party at your own home but without all the work and with [a lot] more space," Lavanga said. "When you are having a gathering for 50 or so people or [fewer], it doesn't make sense to pay for a huge reception hall and spend a fortune on food."

The versatility of the space as well as the sheer imagination of the owner make Happily Ever After the prime choice for many locals. Initially, the company would do more run-of-the-mill themes such as princesses and knights, but gradually started tacking on more interesting notions such superheroes, dinosaurs, pirates, rock stars, and fashion. Kids love the variety of themes and a chance to become their favorite persona, be it fictional or real.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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