Throw a birthday party at a roller-skate rink.
After attending a school-sponsored roller skating party, Brody Spurgin was hooked.
He came home from the event and announced to his mom that he had found the site of his 7th birthday party.
"He was so excited," Carol Spurgin said. "He kept talking about skating."
Spurgin was pleased, too. Planning a birthday party in the winter can be daunting, the Bexley mother said.
"It's a challenge. You can't do outdoors," she said.
She also loved that he chose the locale.
"Usually, at the last minute, I'm giving him options," she said. "He was so determined that made it easier for me."
She made a call to the United Skates of America facility on Refugee Road and the party planning was underway. The skating rink provides invitations, food, drinks and game tokens for the party guests. Spurgin made cupcakes and goodie bags. (She recommends making extras in case siblings show up unexpectedly.)
Party guests, many of whom had spent more time on ice skates than roller skates, eagerly laced up their skates and tottered toward the glossy wood floor. During the first few laps, the kids alternated between mopping the floor with their bottoms and hugging the wall. Before too long, though, several were gliding slowly - but smoothly - around the rink.
They cheered when Brody was invited into the DJ booth to pick a song and give a shout out to his guests. Brody took the opportunity to speak from the heart.
"Thank you for coming to my party," he told his guests.
He also got the chance to try his luck at the rink's Wheel of Fortune, a spinning wheel delineated with different prizes. Brody gave it a big spin and won 200 tickets that he could use to "shop" for goodies at the rink's prize counter. Party guests earned tickets by playing the arcade games.
Brody's party took place during family-skate hours on a Wednesday afternoon. His guests mingled happily with the rest of the skaters and were invited onto the floor to dance the Hokey Pokey. They were also treated to a visit from Skato, the rink's skating dinosaur mascot.
Party-goers and their parents didn't mind sharing the experience with the whole rink and parent Kristen Johnson loved the idea of having the event right after school.
"They have to burn up that energy anyway," she said.
Where: United Skates of America, 3362 Refugee Rd., Southeast Side
Cost: Three different party packages range from $109.50 to $159.50 for up to 10 kids. Additional guests may be added for an additional cost. The packages include pizza or hot dogs for the children. Families can bring in their own cake and can purchase ice cream.
When: Birthday parties take place during family skating sessions. Staff can steer party planners to less crowded days and times.
Who: The rink hosts birthday parties for skaters of all ages, according to event coordinator Jean Robbins: "We book parties from anywhere as young as two, all the way up to 30."
Tip: If you're throwing a skating party in the summer, remind guests to wear socks. Spurgin added them to her goodie bags - just in case.
For more info: 614-239-7202, unitedskates.com/Columbus