The party starts here
MINTURN – There are a pair of plastic breasts at Party Central that will make any man look like the woman of his dreams. If that’s not the look you’re after, there are sunglasses of every shape and form – from John Lennon-style to ogre-sized – hippie wigs, witch wigs, Ozzy Ozbourne wigs, gorilla masks, skeleton masks, google-eyed psychopath masks, wizard costumes, peasant costumes, a hat for every occasion, clown shoes, fangs, fake blood, fairy wings, giant plastic ears, and just about every other dress-up accessory that could roll through your imagination.”We were just walking around town, and this looked like a fun store with different novelties,” said Michelle Baldriche, who was visiting the valley from Miami, Florida, and who explained that she will wear last year’s unused vampire costume for Halloween while her 10-year-old shopped around Party Central for accessories with which to embellish his Luke Skywalker costume.
“It’s good to come into this kind of store just to get ideas,” said Danny Baldriche, who doesn’t have a costume yet. “For any kind of special party you want to throw, it looks like you could find everything you wanted here.”Halloween is just the tip of the party tent at Party Central, which specializes in party planning, decorating, gift baskets and specialty items that in some form or another all tie in with merry-making. Revelry is the common theme, be it Halloween party, New Year’s, baby showers, galas, birthday parties or anniversaries, and the staff at Party Central has the experience and resources to pull anything out of its hat.”I’m decorating for a 30th birthday this Friday,” said Marian Salazar, owner of Party Central, which has been at its new location in Minturn for about a month. “I work with so many different vendors, I’ll get some centerpieces with balloons and banners, accessories and whistles. The party is at the Dusty Boot and these people are coming from Aspen. They don’t have to worry about a thing. When they get here, all they have to do is open the door.”
Bunny costumes to birthdaysFor party planners who want to do the work themselves, Salazar’s shop in Minturn carries both necessities and novelties, some items of which are mainstay and some of which will change with the holiday season. As for Halloween, Salazar’s offerings run the gamut, and full costumes range in price from $25 to $200.”You’re going to have your witches, your devils, your bunnies … Some people are really safe with that sort of thing,” Salazar said. “They’re safe being a pirate, or an angel, a priest or a convict. You know you have to stock certain accessories to go with that. Then we try to have some out-of-the ordinary things. There are people who are more adventurous. We’ve got your prosthetics, your body parts … those spontaneous, weird things are fun for people.”
With such an assortment, it’s possible to be a devil with angel’s wings, a nun with a giant plastic butt, a heavy metal freak with a mullet wig, or a clown with fangs. Party Central’s accessories and ensembles have earned their bearers more than a few second looks. Salazar said one customer who bought an invisible man costume last year – a white suit with a breathing space and eye holes in the shoulder and clear wires to hold up a top hat – won first-place in a costume contest.An When Salazar first set out to own a business, she did mostly retail. However, she soon discovered that, save those times like the last two days before Halloween, when people are in a mad rush to throw together a zany Halloween ensemble, party items aren’t in as much of a demand as a party itself.”I’ll always have a lot of funky stuff here,” Salazar said. “We want to give people a place to get these things so they don’t have to spend $40 driving to the city. But generally, there’s not a lot of foot traffic coming in. I’m trying to tap into a lot of party planning and decorating for hotels, companies and individuals, because there’s a niche for it. And there’s not a specialty store that does that kind of thing around here. The other thing is that it’s something I really like to do. We really enjoy creating fun atmospheres.”For more information about Party Central, call 827-5529.
Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado