All posts by Grand River Inflatables

Top 5 Christmas Movies

Here’s a list of the best 5 Christmas Movies Ever! Or at least according to the staff here at Grand River Inflatables. Of course you know that means it’s true.

We did a poll among our staff members to see what would come out on top as their favorite Christmas movies. There was some debate on whether one of these is a Christmas movie at all. (Obviously it is.) You can be the judge yourself.

Continue reading Top 5 Christmas Movies

5 Super Simple Christmas Treats for Kids

Simple Christmas Treats was inspired by “24 Fun Holiday Treats

Christmas is only days away (from the time I’m writing this) and the holidays are a great way to spend time with the family. Here at Niagara Inflatables we love treats, so we’ve come up with a list of 5 Simple Christmas Treats that you can make at home that look and taste great too!

We’ve also compiled this list to be quite economical as many share similar ingredients. Enjoy!

1) Christmas Dipped Pretzel Rods

simple christmas treats

Back in October for our A Nightmare on 33 Elm Street event, we made a similar treat that looked like zombie fingers. To make the pretzels more festive, dip some pretzel rods into some melted white chocolate. I melt chocolate wafers in a coffee mug in the microwave. And before they cool sprinkle on various holiday coloured sprinkles. Then let them dry on some parchment paper. Voila! Instant holiday snack. View the detailed recipie here.

Ingredients:

  • Pretzel Rods
  • Holiday coloured sprinkles
  • 1lb White Chocolate Candy Melts
2) Cute Christmas Reindeer Marshmallows

reindeer-pops

While you are picking up your White Chocolate Candy Melts, you can also get some regular chocolate candy melts. With the same process, melt the chocolate and dip a marshmallow on a stick to cover it completely. Use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. While still liquid, add the broken pretzel rings as antlers and stick in eyes and nose. Leave to dry by sticking into a foam block. These reindeer pops are adorable and are made even cuter when you tie a ribbon as a collar. Find the full Reindeer Pop Recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • Broken Pretzel Rings
  • Pearl Sprinkles
  • Melting Chocolate
  • Candy for nose (Mike & Ike’s reds, Cinnamon dots, etc.)
3) Christmas Caramel Popcorn

christmas-caramel-popcorn

Everyone loves popcorn and it’s an inexpensive treat. Christmasize it by making covering it with caramel flavouring and Christmas colours. Even though this is a fairly inexpensive treat, there are quite a few steps to making it. I would suggest making it into a large amount and then storing it in air tight containers so that you can snack on this all season long or give it freshly wrapped in clear cellophane bags as gifts.

Get the Caramel Popcorn Recipe and ingredient list here.

Need a lot of popcorn for an event? Rent a commercial popcorn machine and other fun foods from Ontario’s #1 event rental service.

4) Crunch Corn Pops

marshmallow-peppermint-crunch-popcorn-pops

Make another treat using the same ingredients as treats 2 and 3. Using popcorn, marshmallows and sticks, you can make a crunchy corn pop. This one is sure to get sticky and messy. Kids will love it. By mixing melted marshmallows, popcorn and flavours by hand into balls, this one make a yummy sticky treat. All you need to add is some butter and flavoured (peppermint) baking chips. Here is the detailed recipe card.

Ingredients:

  • Warm freshly popped pop corn
  • Marshmallows
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Optional food colouring
  • Broken peppermint baking chips
5) Christmas Tree Ice Cream Cones

candy-christmas-trees

Make this with your gingerbread house and use it as tiny trees on the lawn and make some extra for some ice cream afterwards. Add green food colouring to your gingerbread house icing sugar and then pipe it onto your waffle or standard ice cream cones. Use your candies to dress as ornaments and dazzle. If you make a few, you can turn your trees upside down and add a scoop of ice cream.

Ingredients:

  • Ice Cream Cones (Regular or Waffle)
  • Green Icing Sugar
  • Various Candies

Those are our Top 5 Super Simple Christmas Treats for Kids. What do you think of them? Which ones are you going to make? Take a photo and share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Black Friday 2016

black-friday-2016-gr

Bounce House Black Friday Deals

20% Off ALL Inflatables

Residential or commercial events, get 20% off bouncers, combos, slides, inflatable movie screens, obstacle courses, toddler units, inflatable climbing challenges, inflatables mazes and inflatable interactives and promo items.

Photo Booth

Bonus hour time. Book the photo booth and get 1 bonus hour of event time with your rental at $599.

Phone Crasher

From November 21-25th, sign and pay for your event to take advantage of these single day promos. No exceptions. Check out our Facebook page daily for each phone crasher.

Conditions

New orders only. Events must be booked and paid and signed for for before Nov 25th, 2016 at 5:00 PM EST. Event cannot be on Canada Day. Subject to availability. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount. Other restrictions may apply. Delivery and HST extra. Ask a sales rep for more details.

Christmas in July Sale 2016

It’s Summer and you’re probably not thinking about the holiday season just yet, but Christmas is only away!

We’ve got a big gift bag of specials for you to take advantage of available only until August 15th, 2016. Get them before they head back to the North Pole.

Photo Booth Bonus

Get a bonus hour of photo booth rental time when you book for an event between Nov 1, 2016 and Jan 2, 2017. Includes fun holiday props.Photobooth11

50% off Fun Food Machines

Get a cotton candy, popcorn or snow cone machine rental at 50% off when you rent any inflatable bouncer. Servings extra.

ROGO 50% Off Carnival Games

Rent a carnival game and get a second carnival game of equal or lesser value 50% off!

Save $25 off Santa!

Santa Niagara 2009Get Santa to visit your event and save $25 when your order is over $500 before delivery and taxes.

Terms & Conditions

Events must be fully paid for and signed before Aug 15, 2016 at 5:00 PM EST. Subject to unit availability. Only for events between Nov 1, 2016 and Jan 2, 2017.

Super Snow Cones

Inspired by Natalie Paramore‘s Snapchat via Tastemade, we had to share our favorites of these delicious snow cones for this summer. Due to the nature of Snapchat’s disappearing posts, we’re sharing the highlights of the snap story here. Thanks Natalie!

snow cones cat
Image: @brainfreezesnowballs / instagram

We may call them SnoKones here at Niagara Inflatables, but they go by Snow Cones, snocones, shaved ice, Hawaiian Ice sno balls, raspado and more. One thing is for sure. They are delicious. With summer coming up fast why not upgrade your snow cone to a super snow cone.

Snow Cone Bar

Snow Cones are easy to make. Once you scoop the ice into the cone, just add syrup. If you have lots of flavours available, why not make it into a fancy snow cone bar and have your pool party guests deck it out the way they want it. It also frees you up to do other hosting activities. Kids can get creative and try whatever wacky combination of flavours they want.

snow cone bar

Fruity Cones

Why not add some frozen/chilled fruit to your cones. This way you add natural sweetness to your treats that are healthy too. Raspberry, Stawberry, Maraschino  Cherries, Grapes? You name it! This would be great with or without syrup.

A Raspado

Remember all those names that were at the top of this article. A raspado is a Mexican snow cone. It’s probably the most intense snow cone that you will ever make, so pay attention. You need chopped walnuts, shaved coconut, strawberries and sweetened condensed milk. In your cone, add a syrup if you choose, layer on the strawberries and walnut. Pour the condensed milk and sprinkle with the coconut shavings. Cruncy, cool and sweet!

Raspado en rapido. Image: @diningdivasaz / Instagram

Add Ice Cream to the bottom.

If you are serving your cones up in a cup add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the bottom to add a creamy finish to your cone. Or you can add it to the top. When it comes to snow cones and ice cream. There are no rules.

Bunny Snow Cones

If you ever travel to the Caribbean, you may find these. Kids love them. If you manage to get a hold of these long narrow laundry scoops, you can use them to put bunny years on the top of your snow cones after packing them with ice.  Add two for bunny ears, five for a snow hand.

Scoops

More than syrup.

These are the chocolate syrups of the snow cone world. They are delicious. After adding your syrup, make the flavour pop by adding condensed milk. You probably know of that one already. How about caramel? How about creme with orange syrup. MMM… creamsicle.

Not just for kids

As much as these ideas are great for kids, adults can have fun too. All of these tricks and treats work with your favorite liquor as well.

Share your summer snow cone creations with us on twitter @grandriverjump or on Instagram @grandriverjump.

Book a snow cone machine for your next event.

Space Bouncer

Well it’s not a space themed bouncy castle like a Star Wars  Bouncy, it’s not even something that we as Western Ontario’s Bounce House and entertainment rental company can offer. But it’s still SO COOL.

NASA is sending an ‘inflatable bounce house’ to the ISS soon. It’s part of an experiment to create new living space for future missions to other planets and to give ample habitation in long term space missions.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM test capsule when inflated will provide a 10.5 by 13 foot space that can also withstand solar and cosmic radiation, space debris, UV radiation and all the other nasty stuff that comes with space travel. The TSSA rating on this must be nuts!

Here’s a video of how the ISS Space Arm will install BEAM.

Here’s hoping that this experiment is a success. We’re getting closer to bouncy castles on Mars. With that low gravity, kids are going to be jumping pretty high.

Super Spring 2016

We’re telling mother nature to speed up spring and get it going with this SUPER SPRING deal.

Rent ANY bouncy castle and get:

  • 1 Free Carnival Game valued at $50
  • 10 Tubs of Cotton Candy

Make your spring a little more SUPER FUN. Any bounce house, any price. Can be combined with birthday party special. Only for events occurring before May 31, 2016.

 Call to book  or   Book Online

Taxes and delivery extra. Subject to unit availability. Call for more details.

 

Who is loving Batman v Superman?

Last week we saw the release of the ever so anticipated and ever so hyped, start of the summer blockbuster movie by DC Comics and Warner Brothers (That was a mouthfull), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Also a mouth full.)

Despite mixed reviews, Batman V Superman according to it’s first weekend numbers is setting a whole bunch of records and exceeding expectations. Domestically, BvS brought in $166 million and internationally over $254 million. Combining the two figures, it makes BvS the biggest opening weekend for any superhero movie and one of the largest opening weekend movies of all time. BvS only sits behind movies such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avatar, Jurassic World.

Among the mixed reviews however, there seems to be a consensus among a particular demographic which generally enjoys the movie. The under 18 and the under 25 crowd. On average these groups have given the 2:30 minute Zack Snyder directed film scores of A- and B+ respectively at the time of writing this post. Another positive is that parents are recommending the film to other parents as an option for movies to take their kids to despite the somewhat brutal nature of the scenes.

One thing is for certain, Batman v Superman is the definitive kick off to the DC Cinematic Universe and kids are going to be talking about Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman too for the next year until we see the Wonder Woman stand alone film released.

Fortunately we do have Batman v Superman units to satisfy your DC Fans bounce house needs. With Grand River Inflatables being Western Ontario’s source for bouncy castles, obstacle courses and party rentals, our Justice League Bouncy Castles  feature Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and the rest of the gang. To get more information on these units you can Rent a Bouncy Castle or give us a call at 519-957-9731.

Zootopia dethrones Frozen

This is big news. Disney’s Zootopia has just overtaken the longstanding and popular Frozen Franchise as it’s #1 opening weekend animated film. According to Box office figures, Zootopia took in $73.7 million domestically on its opening weekend and $232.5 million worldwide. This is higher than 2013’s Release of Frozen.

There are many reasons as to why this movie is becoming such a huge success. At the time of this writing, Zootpopia has a 99% Fresh rating on popular film ranking site Rotten Tomatoes. Frozen currently has a ranking of 89%. As time goes on, we will probably see the Rotten Tomatoes score even out, but 99% is still pretty impressive.

With the popularity of Frozen, we purchased not just 1, but 2 Themed inflatables and a themed panel. As Zootopia may be the next big thing for kids. We want to know your opinion on how we should treat this latest hit.

 

March 2016

 

FEO Conference (March 2-4)

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Back on February 19th we announce that we are a finalist for FEO in this blog post. The conference is running from March 2nd to 4th and Niagara Inflatables along with our sister company Grand River Inflatables will be in the FEO marketplace with our fab photo booth. If you are attending the marketplace and going through the passport program, you can use your photo printout as proof that you visited us. #Dare2BDifferent

March Break  (March 14-18)

The kids are off for March Break from the 13th to 18th. Looking for something fun to do? We’ve found these fun activities for you to try out.

BUGFEAST – March 12-20th – Brave enough to eat a bug?

BugFeast is rolling in for March Break 2016 – Food Truck style! Test your taste buds with Crunchy Cricket Tacos + Grilled Cheese with Mealworms. Buy your tickets today!

Posted by Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Free Skate at Cambridge Ice Centre- March 16th – skating, balloon twisting, face painting and popcorn.

March Break plans yet? Join us at the Cambridge Ice Centre on March 16, 2016 for FREE skating from 10:40am-noon and…

Posted by Cambridge Ice Centre on Thursday, March 3, 2016

Click the link for a full list of Cambridge events

Spring Forward.

Don’t forget to set a reminder to change all your clocks on March 13th. Spring is here and we’re excited! Are you?

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Opens March 25)

We love super heroes and movies. The new Batman and Superman flick premiers on March 25th, perfect for the long weekend. If you’ve been hiding under a rock, you can watch the exciting movie trailer below. Planning a party around BvS? We have super hero bouncy castles available over the phone.

Game On!

 

Rent any bouncer and receive a $50 carnival game credit for your event.

Posted by Grand River Inflatables & Games Inc. on Thursday, March 3, 2016

 

Other Fun Days

Look out for these other fun activities and “Holidays” in March.

March 14th is Pi day.
March 25th is also Waffle Day.

Tweet us or Instagram us your Pie and Waffle creations.

FEO 2016

We’re Finalists for FEO!

Another event season is upon us and there’s no better way to start it off. We are pleased announce that Grand River Inflatables & Games is a finalist for this year’s Service Excellence Award: Alternate Entertainment Provider. (But you already knew that from the first line.)

From Festivals and Events Ontario “Each year at the FEO annual conference, [FEO acknowledges its] members’ hardwork through our annual Awards Program, highlighting the best in industry practices and the hard work and commitment of those who make the festivals and events industry in Ontario such a success.”

We are proud to be recognized as part of this industry and community in making Ontario a world class destination for events. Not only do successful events drive our local economy with over $2.3 billion contributed to our local GDP and employs over 55,000 people across the province, Ontario events are a key indicator of Canadian culture and social progress.

Being a supplier to over 15 of the Top 100 Events in Ontario and being named the Service Excellence Award winner in previous years, Grand River Inflatables is committed to delivering the best in inflatable rentals and entertainment.

Good luck to all the other finalists this year and here’s to another great year of events in Ontario.

For more information on Festivals & Events Ontario. Visit www.festivalsandeventsontario.ca

Superbowl Top Rentals

It’s a big year for the Superbowl. This year is the 50th one!  Here’s our list for the top rented items for Superbowl Parties in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and Western Ontario.

Number 4: Cotton Candy Machine

cotton candy machine rentalWhat would the game be without snacks? Sure you have the nachos, chips and dip all ready to go, but some people have a sweet tooth. Adding cotton candy to the mix has been growing in popularity over the past few years and is always a favorite with kids.

Number 3: Sports Bouncer

Superbowl BouncerYay for sports! It doesn’t matter what sport you are into, the Sports Bouncer has it covered. It’s great at a Superbowl party, Worldcup Party, Olympic Games Celebration, anything sports related really.

 

Number 2: Wide World of Sports

Sports 5 in 1
World of sports is great for all ages and has 5 different activities to engage in.

Not just for kids, the Wide World of Sports 5-in-1 is great for all ages while not only
encompassing a football game for your Superbowl Party, it has baseball, basketball, soccer and baseball. Everyone has a chance to shine with this multi game unit.

 

Number 1: Popcorn Machine

popcorn machine rentalYes, this is our most popular rental for the Superbowl, and sporting events. Everyone loves popcorn and with easy pre-packs, there’s no chores of measuring or mixing. Bonus, we take care of the clean up when you rent a popcorn machine.

Looking to plan your own Superbowl party? Book an inflatable for an event in February of 2016 and get a free Popcorn Machine, Cotton Candy Machine or Snow Cone Machine rental with it. 

An Olympic Year: A History Lesson

It’s 2016 and an Olympic year. It’s hard to believe that one of our prominent promotional rental items was only invented 20 years ago. The Sky Dancer also known as “Dancing Tube Men” and “Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Failing Tube Men” is often found in front of car dealerships and new restaurants.

This new video by Great Big Story tells the “Tale of Tall Boy: The Origin of the Inflatable Man.” It provides us with fun facts such as their first appearance in the 1996 Olympic Games and that they were created by Trinidadian artist Peter Minshall. (Grand River Inflatables fun fact: we have a Trinidadian on our staff!)

With the Olympic Games being an even bigger event than Toronto hosted PanAm Games in 2015, we can’t wait to see how our interactive fantasy sports games will be used in events alongside the Sky Dancer. Watch the video below and stay tuned for more fun history lessons.

 

company picnic

Planning your Corporate Picnic

Whether you business has been around for 50 years or is a new start up, a summer corporate picnic is a great way to show your employees appreciation at a different time of year than the December holiday season. Here are some tips, ideas and suggestions to make your company picnic a success!

company picnic

#1 Notice

Give your employees, friends and other invites ample notice as to when your company picnic will be. People take a lot of their vacation time during these months and may feel left out if you schedule your company picnic when you know that they are going to be away. Also, you wouldn’t want to run an event where no one shows up. The more the merrier. Also consider you schedules and their families. You won’t be able to please everyone, but giving ample notice and making consideration will lend to better turnout.

#2 Reminder

If you followed tip #1, you would have told people far in advanced about your upcoming family company event. As most are unlikely to mark this sort of thing in their calendars, it would be wise to remind them when closer to the event date. It’s up to you how you want to do this. It may be easiest to use your email marketing software to schedule reminders to your employee and company list. 1 month, 2 week and 2 day reminders are great options to consider.

#3 The invite list

Part 1: Knowing who is coming to your event is 100% necessary for proper planning. Of course your employees will be there, but ask yourself these questions. Is this open to their partners and/or family? Am I setting a limit to the number of guests? Do I want to open this up to loyal customers and their families? How big/manageable do I want this to be?
With those questions in mind you will be on the right track to planning your company picnic.
Part 1: Consider using an event invitation system such as Eventbrite or Eventjoy to manage your event and send it out via email. DO NOT USE FACEBOOK as your primary event management system. People often ignore their Facebook event requests and you won’t get a good turnout. You may use Facebook to give updates on the event such as entertainment, discuss topics such as potluck items etc.

#4 Planning (Organizers, location)

Depending on the size of your company and how many people are coming, you may need a company picnic committee to organize it. Consider getting one member from every department to assist, but keep it to a maximum of 4-6 people as you don’t want there to be too many hands in it and if they are organizing on company time, it would cost less with a smaller team. Have your committee choose a location off your property that has easy access, ample parking and proper accessibility. The last thing you want employees thinking of is work at this time.

#5 Food

It is a picnic after all! You have several options.
1)Cater your picnic– This is the best option for larger organizations where you don’t want to deal directly with having to organize the details of food such as prep, serving, clean up.
2) Book a food truck– These are all the rave these days and are great for outdoor events. Food trucks can either be catered or if you are on a budget have them sell their food on site.
3) Master Chef– Find someone or someones on your staff who are great at and love cooking for people. Of course you don’t want them to feel like it’s a work day, so keep this option for a small to mid sized organizations. Also, don’t forget to show your appreciation for helping out by giving them a special gift at the end of it all.
4) Potluck– The perfect option for a smaller business. Often done at Holiday Parties as with a smaller group this can be managed by that infamous Facebook group.
Snacks… as always, providing picnic food such as cotton candy, popcorn machines and snow cones is a staple to your event. If you are running a sports tournament or company movie night, having these essentials are key.

Note: Make sure to cater for all dietary concerns.

#6 Fun

Food goes hand in hand with the fun. Make sure to know your audience and have the appropriate activities for the different age demographics. Making your company picnic into a softball game? Try having a kids sports zone. Or try an obstacle course tournament where individuals and teams for best time and prizes. It’s a great way to build team spirit and have a blast.
Everyone is impressed by magic. Get an entertainer or impress with movie magic on an outdoor movie screen.

#7 Safety

This is an often overlook aspect to company picnics and just like your workplace, safety should always be first. Have a first aid kit on site. Delegate someone who has first aid training as day’s safety officer. Have an emergency plan. It can be as simple as call 911. Rent from Insured inflatable companies that meet TSSA requirements.
For outdoor events in summer, make sure to provide a hydration station, shaded areas via tent rentals and even providing sunblock.

#8 Backup Plans

In case of weather, have a back up plan to re-schedule or re-locate. If you have your event at a city park, there may be an arena nearby where you can move your activities into. Research these alternatives when looking into your event location. If you have rented tents, they can provide you the shelter you need from rain and intense sun.

#9 Memories

What is a picnic unless you have memories to go along with them? Make sure to capture these memories with a dedicated photographer. Preferably someone with experience in event coverage. As it isn’t always fair to have someone behind a camera all day and miss out on being in the pictures themselves. Hire a photographer. We recommend this event photographer.