Have you have ever walked into a party and found a rustic village-like setting, complete with cows at the entrance, replacing the custom decor of balloons, party streamers and disco lights? Chances are then that you’ve been invited to a farmland themed party, one of the many themes that have picked up in the city featuring live animals.
Adding authenticity to the party, from calves tied around a tree to a horse or camel giving joyrides, the latest party trend seems to be real animals over their 3D or foam structures.
As wild as this may sound, those with a wilder imagination even go as far as renting an elephant and/or snakes.
With urbanisation changing rustic landscapes to more developed towns, many parents miss out on giving their children a taste of the village lifestyle, and these parties are one way about it, opine Vizay and Nagaraj, two event managers that are prominent for facilitating animals at parties conducted in the city.
“These days, kids rarely get to see farm animals and are thus thrilled at their sight instead of their replicas,” claims Vizay Rudra who runs the event management company Hees, based in Hyderabad.
Usually such outlandish and larger-than-usual parties are favoured by clubs who plan get-togethers for their clients or by organisations looking forward to host their employees and their families, says Vizay.
K Nagaraj nods in agreement. Nagaraj has been catering to such clients through his company Delight Party Decors for the past five years and says that it is not just horses or camels, but even more ‘exotic’ animals like snakes and elephants can be arranged for if the client demands.
“So while parents are busy interacting with colleagues and friends, kids have their gala time too,” he explains.
Hosting at least two events per month on an average, both Vizay and Nagaraj have mostly had companies as their clients rather than individuals.
“It is quite a costly affair as clients have to pay close to `10,000 per animal if they wish to hire a camel or horse,” explains Vizay. “We have a few individual clients, who own large lawns at their farm house, but most often it is the clubs or organisations,” adds Nagaraj.
The animals are always watched over by a caretaker, the event managers say, and assure us that it is absolutely safe, for both the party-goers and the animals.
Vizay says, “The animals are always kept away from loud sounds and bright lights. We don’t allow fire crackers during the event and if there are to be loud speakers, we space them well. In case of a bigger venue, then the animals are kept outdoors and the activity indoors.”
Which brings them to the second complication in arranging such parties – space. By no means an easy affair to host such an event, there are hurdles right from finding vendors who don’t mistreat their animals to arranging the ideal venue or finding space at a preferred venue.
It takes the anything between a week to a month to organise such parties, depending on the kind of animals requested and the space required.
“Hotels are usually where these dos are done and they turn out to be the most difficult to convince as a few hotels and resorts don’t allow even birds for fear of protests from animal rights activists,” shares Nagaraj.
In some cases, the more elite clientele have farmhouses that are great in terms of space, but need more groundwork. “There was this one client who wanted to host the party at his farmhouse. So it took us a month because we had to prepare it from ground up, including growing the grass,” he recounts, adding, “To arrange joy rides, one needs a lot of space at the venue, because the requests usually include horses, camels and elephants.”
So, where exactly does all of this fit within the animal rights purview? The managers are quick to respond that they take very good care of the animals and follow a high code of conduct.
Vizay says, “We do care a lot about animals. I make sure to explain the implications clients might have to face if they mistreat an animal. Also, in a way we are ensuring that these animals are properly looked after by their owners because we carefully scrutinise them and take healthy, well-nourished animals.”
When they started the business, both the entrepreneurs faced protest from organisations like Blue Cross. However, with constant checks on both sides, the managers says they have established a trustworthy business that is known for not mistreating animals.
“We allow people to hire animals for two to four hours and thus make sure they are not over worked. Our first priority has always remained the animals,” says Nagaraj on a concluding note.