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Leave it to the Pros 

Home-grown, home-thrown birthday parties are nice. Sometimes, though, you want someone else to stress over the devilish details so you can enjoy the celebration as a participant. When your child asks for a rock-star, fashion-show birthday party with all the trimmings, you might want to call a pro. Here are two I recommend:

Preschool Ages

Ellie Tetrick of Ellie's Preschool Parties has more than 20 years of experience as a music teacher. She knows how to keep active preschoolers entertained and happy. Tetrick plays guitar and specializes in active, hands-on activities to engage children in physical play. Her bag of tricks includes songs, rhythm sticks, musical instruments, fabric for parachute play, giant ribbons and everyone's favorite — bubble time!

Fee: $175 for 45 minutes, up to 20 children. Info:

Ages 3-8

Mike Randall, the Big Blue Trunk guy, has helped families throw amazing birthday parties for years. Kids choose from among themes such as medieval, princess, super hero, pirate and fashion show. Mike arrives an hour early, sets up, executes the party and then helps with cake and clean up.

The medieval package comes with period tableware, as well as crossbows, jousting, sword games, cardboard castles and trumpeted announcements. Talk about taking a theme to the extreme. Parties include a personalized bottle of sparkling cider and a keepsake photo slideshow set to music.

Fee: $225 for set-up, clean-up and two hours of party time, with flexible number of guests. Info:

Ages 8-13

For older kids, Randall offers the Rally, a birthday party themed after The Amazing Race. The party takes place on Church Street and in the Burlington Town Center and includes must-do challenges just like the TV show, such as figuring out a combination, beading a bracelet or bouncing ping pong balls.

Fee: $200. Info:

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