Ready, Set, Celebrate: Five Spots to Shop Summer Party Essentials

Say goodbye to social distancing—and toast the season—with help from these local entertaining experts.

A statement-making party setup from Peak Event Services. / Photo by Kim Lyn Chauvin/Peak Event Services


From tiny squares of grass in the South End to sprawling lawns in the ’burbs, the experts here will help transform any outdoor space into something worth showing off to your barbecue guests. If you’re willing to go big, you can invest in Barlow Tyrie’s sophisticated teak furniture, but even Didriks’ dinnerware makes al fresco entertaining feel elegant and special. The melamine mixing bowls from Rosti, for instance, come in a range of sizes and colors—and with many of them under $25, they’re an easy and foolproof upgrade next time you want to serve up your famous potato salad.

77 Leonard St., Belmont, 617-354-5700; 2284 Washington St., Newton Lower Falls, 617-467-4847;

Play Time

You would think that more than a year of social distancing meant party-supply stores struggled—on the contrary, according to Carolyn Levosky, who owns this shop specializing in kids’ celebrations. Guest lists might have been smaller than usual, but families really strived to make children’s birthdays more special than ever. “They wanted more items and more festive items,” she says. Whatever you’re looking for to make your little one’s day shine, she probably has it—think: sidewalk chalk, kites, balsa-wood planes, coloring books, bead projects, clay, or just good old-fashioned streamers.

283 Broadway, Arlington, 781-648-3230,

Outdoor serving ware from Didriks. / Photo by Rosti Mepal/Didriks

Splash Super Center

Sure, you’ll find everything you need to successfully manage a pool here, including algae control, suction cleaners, and leaf skimmers to keep your water crystal-clear. But this warehouse doesn’t just stock the boring stuff. Its selection of toys and inflatables—noodles and arm floaties to keep little ones safe, and every type of Instagram-worthy plaything—will make your pool the place to be this summer. We’re calling it now: Blow-up unicorns are out, and the store’s Fourth of July–ready blow-up bald eagles are in.

60 Campanelli Dr., Braintree, 877-527-4881,

Peak Event Services

Whether you’re putting on a backyard wedding bash or just an elegant dinner party for a group of friends, you’ll want to enlist the pros at Peak. The soup-to-nuts service has every size of tent and every style of chair imaginable, plus tables, linens, dinnerware, and flooring. Heck, it even offers pre-styled tablescape packages and rentable crystals to spruce up your place settings, should you need a little extra sparkle. One hot item this summer is a series of sectional timber loveseats that will make any backyard feel like a bohemian oasis.

15 Elkins St., Boston, 833-888-7325,

Felix Doolittle’s memorable note cards. / Photo courtesy of Felix Doolittle

Felix Doolittle

It doesn’t matter if you’re the host or the guest: A post-party thank-you note goes a long way, and nobody creates more-memorable stationery than West Newton artist Felix Fu. Whimsical yet timeless, his watercolors are sure to brighten anyone’s mailbox (even Oprah Winfrey is a fan). Commission a stack of custom thank-you cards with matching return address labels—and consider having him do the invites for your next party, while you’re at it.

35 Border St., West Newton, 617-969-8883,