The date is set. The invitations need to go out in the next couple of days. The theme is decided and the decorations are waiting for you at the party supply store… Oh yeah, why don’t we have Project free tv an entertainer for the kids this year.

If you’re at this point in the process the pickin’s are gonna be slim in the entertainer department. You need to back the planning truck up about four weeks to make sure that you have time to locate and book quality entertainment. Yes, it is possible to find a quality entertainer last-minute–but don’t expect them to be there just waiting for a phone call. A good entertainer will start seriously booking shows for birthdays about six weeks in advance. Four weeks is still a fairly safe bet, but beyond that the dates get tight.

Most people want to have the party on a Saturday about mid-afternoon. Well, an entertainer only has about eight of those coveted spots in any given month. Once they are taken, you go to late afternoon/early evening or perhaps a Sunday (which is getting more popular nowadays). So Rule #1: Plan ahead at least one month.

As I mentioned earlier, you can still get a good entertainer sort of last-minute, but you have to be more flexible with the party time or date. For instance, if possible, think about a mid-week party. Those times are usually more available, and some entertainers will even give a bit of a discount to fill an otherwise unproductive date.

Rule # 2: Do your research. First, visit the company website if one is listed. A good website should give you fair idea of what this performer is all about. Keep in mind that the flashiest web sites don’t always belong to the best performers. However, a nice site does at least tell you this person is serious about his or her business. Be sure to read all the testimonials, and look for names that you might recognise. If there is video, check that out as well. Look for kids laughing in the video. Don’t worry so much about the show. Most living room-type shows seem a bit sluggish or even campy when viewed on video. If the kids are laughing though, that’s a clear indication that this is a good children’s entertainer.

You might also ask friends about an entertainer? Have they heard of him or her? If so, what have they heard? It should be all positive. Of course, you’ll want to call the entertainer and find out what you can expect to experience if he or she does entertain your child. Think of this as an interview for a job, and you are the employer. Here are a few questions you might ask.

Are you a full-time entertainer? (A part-time entertainer may be just fine, but someone-who makes a living from entertaining will have more experience and may be more reliable because this is a business.)