Montrose Park Birthday Parties Are Getting Out of Hand

Montrose Park is a beautiful park. In GM’s estimation, it’s the nicest urban park in the city. It’s only natural that people like to gather in the park and throw a picnic or a party. GM himself hosted a post-wedding brunch in the park (by-the-by, said brunch was catered by Griffin Market, who did an amazing job. GM heartily recommends their services for your next event).

Montrose Park only has a handful of picnic benches. As a result, when a family wants to host a birthday party there, a parent inevitably has to show up in the morning and “reserve” the table with table cloths and balloons.

This has created a relatively self-policing system. Groups get to host events in a beautiful setting, yet the parties are not so frequent or large as to affect regular users. That unfortunately may be starting to change.

A couple years ago GM saw his first birthday party in Montrose Park that featured a pony ride. It was shocking that somebody would be so bold. It was sometime after that point that GM saw another birthday party that featured a giant Moon Bounce like this:

Again, it was absolutely shocking that some family thought it was ok to turn a National Park into their own Chucky Cheese.

While shocking, these events seemed so rare as to not be a major problem. Unfortunately GM has noticed two more such parties recently. It seems as if it’s starting to become a “thing”. Not for nothing, but most of the license plates of the last party were out-of-state, which implies that the word is spreading out about the park’s lax anti-Moon Bounce enforcement.

The last party was the most ridiculous yet. On top of the pony rides, the party featured not one, but two llamas:

And see that fenced in area? That’s were they kept the rest of the menagerie, which as GM recalls consisted of a bunch of ducks, a goat or two, and some pigs.

GM called in to NPS’s Rock Creek administrators to see whether people we getting permits to hold these parties. The answer was a laughing no. According to park rules, any party over 20 people requires a permit and the park service employee told GM that they probably wouldn’t approve pony rides and moon bounces anyway.

What do you all think about this? The animals can damage the grass and the moon bounce can outright kill a large patch of it. There’s also something a little off-putting about people commandeering a public park for their child’s super sweet six birthday party.

But on the other hand, the park is big enough that they don’t seem to be bothering other people. And while there have started to occur with a bit more frequency, they’re still far from a weekly occurrence.

It would be unacceptable if these started to happen more often, and maybe we need to put the kibosh on long before we get to that point. But GM is not about to call the cops the next time he sees a horse trailer pull up. First of all, he has no desire to ruin some child’s birthday. Secondly, the Montrose Park dog-walking community definitely doesn’t need the attention of NPS.

So what do you think? Abuse of the park or not that big a deal?

10 Comments

Filed under Events

10 responses to “Montrose Park Birthday Parties Are Getting Out of Hand

  1. Michael Kessler

    Given that some people I know in the “dog-walking” community got rounded up like a bunch of sheep two months ago (3 SUVs and a motorcycle cop descended in like they were breaking up an al Qaeda meeting), the enforcement measures are, if anything, inconsistent. (And, this happened after numerous reports had been given to the park police that a man appearing to match the description of the guy that attacked a woman on Q and 31st a few weeks prior had been frequently seen around behind Dumbarton…that report was met with the silence of crickets and blank stares).

    We ran through the park with our dogs (on leashes) while that party with the fenced barnyard was going on. Prone to getting out of sorts over these things, like GM may be, my only reaction was “how cute.” It was a small parcel and relatively quiet. The problem, of course, is when lots of these things start happening or if the activity is a nuisance.

  2. GM

    Well I guess part of it for me is that I find pony rides to be terribly depressing to watch. Plus I didn’t find it that cute when the poor llamas were being yanked around on a leash by the kids. And just generally it seems like they’re pushing it too far. (Although I must say that I found the 15 foot long child-sized table to be pretty cute).

    But I also agree that as of now, they’re not in and of themselves a real problem (well, except for the moon bounces, since those can really damage the grass). The real problem is if it starts happening more often and if parents start to “one-up” each other. The fact that they’ve moved from a simple pony ride to a full-blown petting zoo is what makes me worried that they’re already in “one-up” mode.

  3. J. MacLeod

    Just because home/car break-ins, and muggings occur in G’town doesn’t mean that other lessor topics should be ignored, but REALLY!?

    Rose Park regularly is the sight of small barn yard animals and moon bounces for kiddy events, and I always enjoy the sight. The only frustrating aspect is that I want to bounce on the moon too, but am too embarassed to do so. BTW, I’ve never noticed ruined grass as a result of the moon bounce…

    Don’t be a party pooper, and don’t make a big deal out of a non-issue – until you see elephants, and fire-breathing clowns.

  4. Jonathan

    Seriously? GM was always the cream of the ‘dc neighborhood blogs’ because it seemed to manage to resist the urge to post whines about petty little items. No longer.

  5. GM

    Ouch. Well, I’ll try to dial it down.

    Although all bets are off if I see a fire-breathing elephant.

  6. OldGeorgetowner

    In defense of GM —

    Ten years ago, I took my son to a birthday party for the six-year old daughter of a local billionaire. There was a petting zoo with six or eight animals, a pony, a juggler, a clown who tied balloons in various shapes, a face painter, a couple strolling musicians, a popcorn machine, a snow cone machine — you get the idea.

    After a while I sidled over to the old carny who was minding the llamas, etc. and asked how could I ever top this when my son’s birthday rolled around?

    “That’s easy,” he said. “You get the elephant.”

    True story.

  7. No pony for you!
    Yes, obnoixous displays of over doing a kids party must be curbed. Moonbounces should be limited to block parties and other community events.
    I say crash those large parties, that will discourage them if the surrounding hoi polloi keep showing up.

  8. Pingback: National Parks Not National Parties » We Love DC

  9. let ’em keep doing it.

    but make ’em pay for it!

    c’mon, these people can clearly afford it, so make ’em pay a couple hundred bucks. the city coffers can use the money. or the NPS’ coffers…

  10. it the park is respected and the space is shared…

    then these parties should not be an issue

    this sort of thing happens all over the city
    often the party hosts allow other non guest children to join in on the fun

    it is good for the community

    it is nice to see people get out of their houses

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