Frances Howell

Frances Howell at 1st Class Parties and Events. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

Frances Howell owns 1st Class Parties and Events in Anniston. The facility hosts parties for children ages 1-12, and also has “open play time” twice a week. Howell enjoys hosting these events because she likes seeing the happiness on the faces of the children who attend.

1st Class Parties and Events is located at 3012 McClellan Blvd. in Anniston. “Open play time” hours are 10 a.m.-noon Monday and 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are for booked events only.

What did you do before getting into the event industry? I went to Pleasant Valley High School, and I worked in manufacturing and finance before working in party event rental. In my time in manufacturing, I worked in a sewing plant in Jacksonville and Weaver. I worked for seven years at City Financial.

Why did you get into those industries? I worked at the sewing plant because it was a job that I thought I could do because my mother had always worked in sewing. Finance was something I got into because the plant in Weaver I worked at burned down, and I needed a job.

How did you become involved in the event industry? My husband and I have owned an outside party rental business since 2000. When I saw the building that became the location for 1st Class Parties and Events was vacant, I decided it was time to open up our indoor place. I had thought working in finance was (where I wanted to work). But after my husband opened up his business, I soon realized that working with children was my calling.

Tell us about a memorable event you have hosted. We decided that we wanted to give away a birthday party after we opened up in 2013 … we gave the party to a sweet girl named Abby who was battling cancer at that time. She is a survivor. The joy on her and her brother’s faces was the greatest blessing for us.

Tell us about your facility. 1st Class Parties and Events is a 9,000-square-foot indoor party center. We host children’s birthday parties, church events and year-end sporting events. Our place is for children 1-12 years old.

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about seeing the joy on each and every child’s face as we host their parties and events and the children who come in for one of those events.

Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at