A crowd of well-wishing children and circus lovers came out Friday for a 10th birthday party for elephant Sarah.
The party was held outside the Patriot Center at George Mason University, where the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is currently showing. Sarah was born at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 2001.
Party attendees were entertained with coloring books, clowns from "Clown Alley" and circus treats such as popcorn and animal crackers. The six Asian elephants came out to eat a brunch of hay, apples, carrots, and lettuce. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, the first African American and the youngest Ringmaster in the history of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, led a kid's Q&A session with one of the animal trainers answering questions about the elephants.
Georgetown Cupcake owners and sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne provided giant cupcakes for the elephants to eat, Kallinis said she did not think anyone had tried this before.
“We did a taste test on Tuesday with the elephants,” Kallinis said. “We got all the dietary restrictions of what they could and could not have.”
The elephants tried a plain pound cake cupcake with pureed strawberry frosting, a pound cake cupcake with chopped vegetables and pureed pumpkin frosting, a pureed banana and applesauce cupcake with peanut butter frosting and a triple berry poundcake cupcake with a pureed strawberry frosting. The banana-apple and triple berry cupcakes were the most popular with the elephants, their trainers assured the Georgetown Cupcake ladies.
"They didn't like the vegetable one at all,” LaMontagne said. “It was funny."
Kallinis and LaMontagne carried out Sophie’s cupcake, while clowns from Clown Alley brought out the rest for the five other elephants. The elephants ate some of the cupcakes, but seemed to have trouble lifting them.
"They're about 50 pounds each," LaMontagne said. “We think we probably should have sliced them for them – it was hard for their trunks to grab them. Next time we do cupcakes for elephants, we’ll slice them all.”
Georgetown Cupcake also provided smaller cupcakes for the children at the party to decorate. Many of the attendees were part of The Sunshine Kids, an organization that provides group activities and emotional support for children with cancer.
“We provide in-hospital and out of hospital activities for kids with cancer,” said Aubrey De Los Reyes, the activities coordinator for the Sunshine Kids. “We’ve been doing it for about 30 years.”
De Los Reyes said that the group enjoys going to the circus, Disney on Ice shows, and more active pursuits such as ziplining and tubing.
Georgetown Cupcake is currently selling a Special Edition Barnum200 cupcake in-store with all proceeds going to the Sunshine Kids. Other special cupcakes in store currently benefit the Girl Scouts, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Save the Children.