Graduation Parties in Lincoln – April 2023

Graduation day is one of the biggest moments of a student’s life. While graduation marks the end of one’s schooling, it’s also the beginning of the next chapter, whether that’s additional school, starting a new job, moving to a different city or embarking on a new adventure.  Friends and family gather to celebrate achievements and forthcomings for the guest of honor, so be sure that the day is made special for the graduate.

Each school is unique. From seniors walking down their former elementary school hallways in their caps and gowns to decking out their cars in school colors, high school graduation traditions vary, even within the same geographical area. What remains the same is the cause for celebration. No matter how you or your graduate chooses to celebrate, make sure to remember the accomplishments and hard work it took to get there. Make it unique and involved with what you are interested in. The best graduation parties are always the ones that really feel like a culmination of who the graduate is and what they did in their time at school.

If you are new to graduation party planning, here are a few tips on how to make this a special celebration.

Invitations: Make an invitation that serves as a keepsake for guests and yourself! Feature graduation photos or school photos of the graduate and create your own unique design through one of many available invitation-makers online. You could even handcraft your invites to add a personal touch or message for every guest.

Decorations: Use school photos to adorn the party scene! Guests love to look at your graduate throughout the years while reminiscing on memories that they may have been a part of. For added fun, have guests sign a guest book or another object, and write words of advice for a prosperous future. You can also embellish the party space in the graduate’s school colors. Position flowers and balloon clusters on party tables and in other prominent places in the room.

Games and Activities: Graduation parties usually happen around the same time as other students, so you want to make sure yours has something unique to keep guests engaged. You can base games and activities around the graduate’s interests or find a venue that has an interactive element like a bowling alley.

Favors: While favors are an unnecessary part of a celebration, they can be a fun addition for your guests to remember your grad by. Popular favors include mini prints of graduation photos, treat bags featuring school colors, custom keychains or something relating to your grad. The sky is the limit!

Believe it or not, it’s time to be planning those celebrations now, and these Lincoln businesses are ready to help make your party the best one in town.

Knock the Party Out of the Park with Knockerballs

Make the graduation party especially memorable by bringing Nebraska Knockerball to the celebration! A knockerball is a single chamber inflatable sphere with inner handles and adjustable shoulder straps. They can be used singularly to perfect your rolls, flips, and wheels, but when two or more Knockerballs come together, the experience is catapulted into rip-roaring laughter and exhilarating knocks and rolls that will keep you coming back for more. Owner of Nebraska Knockerball is Manuel Walker, who shared some more information on this enjoyable new offering.

Manuel Walker
Nebraska Knockerball

“Knockerball packages begin at six, but we can go all the way up to 12 knockerballs to truly give your party crowd the best enjoyment and allow more to participate,” shared Manuel. “We can also bring more than the knockerballs to the party – we have several yard games, including Giant Jenga; Giant Connect Four; yard dice (called ‘Yardtzee’); cornhole; tug-of-war; human foosball; and foot darts, in which you kick Velcro soccer balls at a 12-foot-tall inflatable dart board. Recently we also added an inflatable lumberjack axe throw game to our collection. Lastly, while we are not a DJ service, we can provide two giant Bluetooth speakers to really amp up the party!”

Manuel knows how much is happening throughout the day when celebrating one’s graduation, so he wants you to rest assured that when you rent from Nebraska Knockerball, you will get to be a part of the party rather than be the one running it. He takes care of handling the knockerballs and yard games so that you can enjoy your time spent with guests.

“What makes us especially unique is that we are the only company providing these services in Nebraska,” Manuel said. “This is all new to the local market. We are so excited to be here and remind people what it’s like to have fun again – and what better time to do it than when celebrating the great achievements of your loved one?”

Nebraska Knockerball has also opened a physical location at 2350 Judson St., Unit 1 to offer event space with their fun, interactive games and activities all year round. If you’re worried about the weather ruining your special day, contact Manuel to get information on how to book the space for your graduation.

Downtown Venue with Class

Another wonderful and convenient downtown location for graduation parties is the Talon Room. Nuzzled in the historic Spaghetti Works building, Talon Room has been established as the perfect venue to host any kind of social gathering in downtown Lincoln. The “Talon-t’d” staff at Talon Room will plan and execute the event you envisioned.

In addition to the unique and gorgeous venue, Talon Room has an on-site kitchen that can accommodate all of your food needs. They allow for outside catering for a percentage fee based on attendees, but check out their delicious options for in-house catering. They also have a liquor license and bar service, so they can provide beverages of any kind for your party.

They provide start-to-finish planning, and, if you are celebrating with other graduates, they offer plenty of space to host a combined party. Talon Room’s staff works hard to ensure that your day is perfect so that all in attendance can relax and celebrate. Owner Matthew Rogge gave us a few things to keep in mind when planning a graduation party.

Matthew Rogge
Talon Room

“When you are planning your celebration, approach it with an idea of how many guests you would like to invite and how much work you are anticipating putting in to plan it and set up,” explained Matthew. “Most families planning a graduation party realize after the party is over just how much work it takes to host it at their home. We provide the ease of allowing you to simply show up, have a good time, and leave without having the hassle of cleanup after. This way, you can truly focus on the graduate and celebrate their success.”

Talon Room has an on-site kitchen that can accommodate all of your food needs. They allow for outside catering for a percentage fee based on attendees. They also have a liquor license, so they can provide beverages of any kind for your party.

Talon Room will be offering special 2023 graduation party rates on select dates, so reach out to them today to get started on planning your big party!

Catering Perfection

For catering recommendations, we suggest Tipsy Tina’s Taco Cantina for their mouth-watering tacos made from quality ingredients and the made-from-scratch salsas, dips, and dressings that perfectly complement the tacos. Tipsy Tina’s catering menu includes a taco bar, where you can build your own taco or create some of their most popular options: Carne Asada, Carne Fajita, Al Pastor, Carnitas, American, or Pollo. Add on Elote or Chile Bites; chips and dips or salsas; seafood or fiesta salads; a side of rice or beans; churros; and Jarritos, or Mexican sodas.

Nathan Stewart
Tipsy Tina’s & McKinney’s

“Another catering option we provide is our Taco Box. Pick out up to four different types of tacos, and we will make a total of 12,” said Nathan Stewart, co-owner. “You have a variety of taco options to choose from; it’s your chance to try each corner of the menu. Try our Chorizo taco alongside the Buffalo Chicken, Shrimp, and Sweet Potato tacos. We even have breakfast tacos!”

Even if you’re not planning on ordering catering, Tipsy Tina’s is a great place to enjoy with friends and family for a night out on the town to celebrate. They have 32 draft beers, over 200 tequilas, and signature blended drinks.

In addition to the team at Tipsy Tina’s, another great option is McKinney’s Irish Pub. Mckinney’s Irish Pub offers a selection of over 20 different beers on tap, 40 different Irish whiskeys, and serves Irish and American cuisine. Their kitchen hours are Monday – Sunday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., and their bar is open from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Mckinney’s also provides outside catering options and has a party room for events that can hold up to 40 people.

“We provide it all when it comes to catering. We have all the linens, dishware, catering pans, and private servers to help insure your party goes well,” said Nathan. “Our party room has no rental fee, but we require a $200 minimum in sales, which can be from a mixture of food and drinks. As a locally-owned business, we are committed to catering to almost any of your needs.”

In regards to party planning, Nathan has some advice to make sure the day goes as smooth as possible.

“We never want our customers to be disappointed or surprised by what we have put together for their party,” Nathan advised. “No matter where you decide to cater from or host your party at, make sure to double check with the vendors at least a week before the event. Double check all food and drink menus as well as provide a final head count to make sure no one gets left out!”

Make Graduation Day Sweet

After late-night cramming sessions, writing (and rewriting) those essays, and all those extracurricular activities, they’ve done it! Congrats to your grad, and to you, for making it through those highs and lows. To celebrate their big day, add a decadent touch to your graduation parties. Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates has a full selection of hand-crafted artisanal bonbons, caramels, chocolate bars, and toffee. You’re bound to find an elegant treat for your friends and loved ones that are sure to leave them saying, “Wow!”

Chocolatier and owner of Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates, Gaylene Steinbach, has made Lincoln a little sweeter through her passion for small-batch, artisanal chocolates. Her creations are nothing short of art. For this graduation season, consider some of the options Lulubee has to offer.

  • Celebrate the Class of 2023: Adorn your favorite chocolate bars with a label of your school logo or “Class of 2023” to make a tasty invitation or delicious party favor.
  • Show Your School Colors: Commemorate their alma mater with hand-crafted bonbons decorated in the school colors. Whether these treats become part of a dessert bar or are tucked into a 2-piece favor, it’s a decadent way to pay homage to their school days.
  • Thank Those Helpers: Whether it’s teachers, counselors or friends, give those special people an extra-big thank you with customized gift baskets. Lulubee has a variety of options that can feature your school colors, or ask them about making customized thank-you bonbons.

Gaylene Steinbach
Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates

“We love working with our clients to develop customized gifts for every occasion,” shares Gaylene. “Let’s work together to make this year’s graduation party one to remember!”

Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates is committed to decadent flavors, all-natural ingredients, and the patience to make these treats divine. In addition to bonbons, they also offer English toffee, chocolate bars, and delicious flavored caramels and chocolate turtles. Attractive wrapping and packaging make these a perfect gift to give a loved one, family member, friend or coworker.

Celebrate Nebraska-Style

Wherever you are graduating from, celebrating in Lincoln means that you have some kind of tie to the community. What better way to celebrate than to feature a Lincoln staple at your party! The Mill and Nebraska Innovation Campus’ “The Club” is the perfect setting for coffee lovers and Lincoln lovers alike.

The Mill is proud to be offering catering options as well as The Club, a private gathering space at Nebraska Innovation campus. This space is available for a variety of gatherings and is available with a reservation.

Host your next event at The Club at The Mill Coffee & Bistro at Nebraska Innovation Campus. Within the comforting and memorable walls of The Mill, they can provide you and your guests with the space and privacy you need to host your graduation party. With creative beverage and food options available, the Mill will cater to your needs, and give you and your guests an elevated experience! The Club rental rate is $1500/4 hours and can be deferred by food and beverage purchase. All food and beverages must be catered by The Mill.

  • Comfortably seats 50 people or 125 for stand-up cocktails
  • Private bar available with beer, wine and mixed drinks
  • Food options from small appetizer plates to multiple course dinners
  • HD Television with HDMI hookups and WiFi available

The Nebraska Innovation Campus is is designed to facilitate new and in-depth partnerships between the University of Nebraska and private sector businesses. NIC is adjacent to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and strategically provides access to research faculty, facilities and students. For future or graduating Huskers, there is no better place to celebrate their achievements than through a UNL-supported entity.

Inflate the Fun

A big part of your party is being able to cater to families and people of all ages. To keep those kiddos happy and laughing all day long, we recommend contacting Lincoln Inflatables. They can bring your event to the next level with inflatable bounce house units, boxing rings, waterslides, or even a dunk tank. They’re known for their prompt communication, punctuality and quality customer service.

Jason Gayed
Lincoln Inflatables

“Our lineup includes activities for individuals of all ages,” shared Owner Jason Gayed. “The inflatable bounce houses are a favorite of kids, but the dunk tank, for example, provides quality entertainment for everyone. We strive to make sure that everyone at every event is having a great time!”

No matter the age of your graduate, you would be surprised how much fun a group of young adults can have with a few inflatables around them!

Lincoln Inflatables has been in the industry for more than 14 years, giving countless community members fun memories. Contact them today to ensure their help in providing outstanding entertainment at your graduation party!

Brew Up a Good Time

Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee is a specialty coffee shop franchise that has been around since 1993. It’s most known for being a thriving coffeehouse featuring classic rock and roll music and great food! With locations in three states, our local Rock ‘n’ Joe is especially unique as it is home to a wine tasting room featuring wines from Whispering Winds Vineyards as well as 13 other Nebraska wines. Furthermore, the coffeehouse features Nebraska craft beers, a huge variety of artisan drinks, and a delicious line of breakfast and lunch foods.

The coffeehouse’s unique atmosphere is amplified by Rock ‘n’ Joe’s spacious outdoor patio for customers who want to take in the beautiful summer weather. Inside, you’ll find all types of seating from high top tables to cozy chairs by the fireplace, as well as a private conference room that works fabulously for bigger meetings or those who work from home and are looking to switch up their environment.

If you’re looking for a relaxed venue or catering for your party, reach out to Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee to get more details on how to make your graduation celebration absolutely perfect.

Party on Wheels!

For the 21+ graduates, consider renting a party bus from Tailored Dreams Limousines and Party Buses to really go out with a bang and make it a night that everyone will be talking about all summer long. Tailored Dreams is Lincoln’s premier party bus company, known for their friendly drivers and for creating an experience tailored to your particular group. Tailored Dreams has multiple party buses available that can fit anywhere from 26 to 45 passengers. These buses can take you to a destination of your choice while jamming to music that gets everyone dancing and having a good time. Just reserve your bus ahead of time, and then tell your chauffeur where you want to go when you arrive for your party, and they’ll get you there and back safely.

DeeDee Loomis
Tailored Dreams Party Buses

“Our fleet consists of six party buses,” shared Owner DeeDee Loomis. “Each bus has a Bluetooth sound system, loud speakers, heating and A/C, and fun LED lights. There have been so many groups that have had the time of their lives with us on our party buses! Our team takes pride and joy in making every occasion perfect.”

Their reputation for delivering a fun time has spread. Take it from one of their recent clients: “We just wanted to extend a huge thank you for making our Party Bus experience so phenomenal. The chauffeur was amazing, and the experience was nothing short of a blast. They kept the party bumping when we couldn’t decide on music, and kept everyone having a great time.”

One of the things that make Tailored Dreams unique in this industry is that they are the only party bus company in the area that has handicap accessible buses in their fleet. They’ve thought of everything in order to create a custom driving experience at an economical price. Tailored Dreams will work with you and your guests to make sure everyone has a great time. Don’t hesitate to call them – reservations book up quickly!

Celebrations that Take the Cake

If you aren’t one for big parties or have plans with friends or family, it is still important to recognize the importance of your grad’s achievements. What better way to do that than with a special dessert from Sweet Things by Marcy.

Sweet Things by Marcy is a locally-owned bakery in Lincoln that has a vibrant menu of sweet treats. Owner Marcy Haas works hard to provide the Lincoln community with her delicious cakes, pies and other desserts. For graduation season, Marcy can help you find the perfect dessert for your get together.

If you are planning a larger party, Marcy offers cupcakes and southern tea cakes by the dozen. Reach out in advance to make sure she can get your party needs done in time for the big day. Have your guests talking about Marcy’s flavorful cupcakes for weeks after graduation, or impress your family with one of the many cakes offered at Sweet Things.

“My bakery specializes in authentic southern-style desserts. Our desserts are made from scratch, with real butter, real vanilla and real love,” said Marcy. “I have been baking for over 40 years. My mother taught me how to bake basic southern staples such as biscuits, cornbread, tea cakes and sweet potato pie. I eventually played around with making pound cakes, cookies and other things, and ended up growing my passion into a business. “

Sweet Things by Marcy is also exclusively available at Lila Mae’s Southern Kitchen. If you are looking for a full catering experience, reach out and see what Lila Mae’s and Sweet Things by Marcy can do for you and your party.

Congratulations, graduate – you did it! It’s time to celebrate your success and the start of the next chapter. As Nora Ephron once said, “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” Get ready for this next stage of life and reach out to these local businesses to make your graduation party one to remember!