It might have been difficult to see how a Barbie Party could be inclusive to everyone - girls and boys - who usually attends the Free Family Saturdays at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library.
Barbie? The iconic doll that has been a staple (with her boyfriend Ken, and friends Midge and Stacie) since 1959?
“It does work,” said crafter Michelle de Gasperis, whose daughter Celeste Mlynczyk, inspired the Barbie Party with her own extensive collection of dolls. "It took me a little while to see…”
The theme was actually “You can be anything,” and kids were invited to be rock stars, make their own paper guitars and microphones, dress up for the photo booth, and become architects in a “you can build anything" challenge.
Mlynczyk’s collection of Barbie dolls and accessories filled the front display case – tracing the evolution of Barbie, from the 1959 blonde-haired, blue-eyed doll created by Ruth Handler for Mattel, through all of her various incarnations during the past 60 years.
Holiday Barbies in designer dresses. Ethnic Barbies in costumes from around the world. Olympic Barbie. Even a rare Wizard of Oz Barbie group, and a Star Trek Barbie and Ken.
The display was part of the fun, with kids challenged to go on a scavenger hunt and discover various objects behind the glass – like Toto, Dorothy’s little dog, and NBA Barbie’s basketballs. The hardest to find? A miniature birthday cake and a cowboy hat, held by tiny Barbie figurines.
The event also inspired others. One library patron donated a collection of Barbie books, which were given away as prizes at the library’s Barbie Party.