The new school kind is 100 percent on-theme (which isn’t just “birthday,” by the way) and everything, from the banners to the napkins to the hand sanitizer, perfectly matches. The old school kind is decorated with whatever was on clearance in the party section at Dollar General — because kids don’t care if all the plates match as long as there’s cake on ’em.
The new school kind has an elaborate, 8-foot sundae bar that would put any frozen yogurt shop to shame, and the ice cream is served in custom-made bowls with personalized spoons. The old school kind has one of those big, 5-pound buckets of vanilla ice cream that you have to let thaw for seven hours just to get the tip of a spoon into it.
While both kinds of kids’ birthday parties in the South have their differences, there is one thing they have in common. Whether they’re new school or old school, there’s a good chance they’ve got a dad in attendance, parked in a lawn chair with a “beverage” in hand, offering plenty of unsolicited commentary.