Over on my GizmoPorn blog, I’ve written about how there’s been a recent spate of post rejections from particular websites.  In order to circumvent this, I have adopted an interview format for some of my pieces.  For the most part this has been successful.  I get a few “too promotional” rejections, which is laughable when you look at the other articles on these sites.  And especially curious since a prolific writer tends to be conservative with his or her writing choices and basically posts about other articles found on the Internet.

Anyway, this makes for an unfair situation when it comes to the subjects I’m interviewing.  Fortunately, Wide Lantern is here to rectify that.  You can read right here about the Teen Party Expo, which is about coming-of-age parties, particularly multicultural ones.

 

MARCH 2, 2014, L.A. CONVENTION CENTER

Teens dispose of trends as fast as they do their income.  But as the face of the world around them changes, do they still hang on to traditions such as coming-of-age parties?   I talked to Oscar Urrutia, the founder of GEC Events, which produces the Teen Party Expo, about trends in a multicultural era.

 

How are teens appreciating their diversity as well as being inclusive when it comes to multiculturalism in party planning?

Coming-of-age celebrations like Quinceañeras or Bat/Bar Mitzvahs bring together religious traditions with modern-day celebration rituals.  In a country in which there is such a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, these types of events allow families to teach their children to embrace their cultural heritage and make these a part of their life.  We are at a time in history in which multiculturalism is an important aspect of society and events such as these allow people to learn about the cultural diversity that surrounds them.  Teens feel proud to be able to celebrate these special occasions and share with their friends a piece of their cultural identity.  The beauty of these events is that there is teens have the ability to adapt the celebration to include a blend of rituals from both their family cultural traditions as well as modern-day American celebratory customs.

 

With teens disposing of trends rapidly, how can parties be planned to include what’s hip at the time and yet be scheduled far in advance to allow proper planning?

For the most part, teens have certain expectations of what they want their celebrations to be.  These, combined with the budget that has been set aside for the celebration, allow them to come up with a game plan.  To many teens, these celebrations are something that they have imagined in their minds for many years.  The theme, color scheme, rituals, etc., is something that they have identified as an important part of their party and therefore they build everything around that idea.  Although there is always the risk that a teen may change their mind at the last minute about something, for the most part they have a specific idea of what they want and look for the resources available to them to help them put together their dream party.  For those that might need extra help putting their party together, there are a lot of resources such as expos, online directories, party planners, etc., that specialize in teen celebrations that can help them find what they need.

 

What about food trends—are party planers becoming more conscientious about diet and dietary needs?

These types of celebrations have evolved over the years to include the many changes that come with the blending of cultures.  In a society in which dietary needs are top-of-mind to parents, these concerns are also taken into account in the planning of these parties.  Food allergies, vegetarian requirements, etc., are all considered when planning menus.

 

Are teens choosing to have coming out parties only out of tradition?

The original meaning behind coming-of-age celebrations was that it marked a transition of a child into adulthood.  It meant that this newly initiated teen was prepared to take on some of the responsibilities that came with adulthood, including marriage.  In today’s tradition, although these celebrations continue to mark a transition, they are more about the celebration of youth.  It’s a time for teens to have a special party that allows them to bring together their cultural traditions with those of their American lifestyle.  Although the Bar/Bat Mitzvah puts a strong emphasis on the religious significance of the event, all these coming-of-age celebrations place a great deal of emphasis on celebrating the teen and their journey through childhood and what awaits them as they enter adulthood.  It’s a day for a young girl to feel like a princess or a young man to be the center of attention.  It is a time to celebrate with family and friends.  It is possible that in the Hispanic and Filipino communities, young girls decide to celebrate such events because it is a tradition that has been handed down to them and it has been something that they have been dreaming about their whole lives….and therefore it may be strictly out of tradition.  But for the most part, teens see these events as opportunities to have great parties with their friends and families and share a piece of who they are with others.

 

Where can teens and parents find information and options about planning their party?

Teen Party Expo (March 2, 2014 at the L.A. Convention Center) as designed with the teenager in mind.  It’s an event that brings together teens and their parents and allows them to spend the day together planning their special event.   Attendees will have many resources available to them that will assist them in the planning of their coming of age celebrations.  There will be two fashion shows displaying the newest fashion trends, as well as vendors offering the latest in invitations, DJs, party buses, cakes and entertainment.  Exhibitors will be offering special deals and discounts up to 50% off to all of those in attendance.  Families will be able to plan these events on their budget.  Unlike typical expos that only include exhibitors, Teen Party Expo offers special performances and appearances by several Disney Channel and ABC Family teen celebrities as a bonus included in the ticket price.  Finally, attendees will have an opportunity to win tickets to see One Direction in concert, custom designed dresses and a $500 shopping spree to Warehouse Shoe Sale.

 

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