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Piñata Pride: Ferrante crafts colorful party centerpieces

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By Cindy Simpson

Festive colors and fun-filled parties aren’t complete without a centerpiece.

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For Lania Ferrante, a piñata was the focal point of a party in her native Costa Rica.

She’s trying to encourage Roane Countians to also enjoy the party item.

“That is the main attraction at any party, adults and little kids,” said Ferrante.

In her Kingston home, Ferrante makes elaborate piñatas for parties in the area.

It’s catching on, but she said using piñatas is really still a novelty here.

“People love them, but they don’t know what to do with them,” Ferrante said.

Some of her most recent creations include two stripe-clad criminals at Harriman Police Department’s National Night Out event. Her creations were also featured at campaign parties for Sheriff Jack Stockton.

“I love to see the kids — the look in their faces,” Ferrante said. “That is the most precious thing to me. They are so excited.”

Making piñatas is a craft she picked up as a young child.

Her neighbor used to make them for many people in Costa Rica. She noticed Ferrante’s talent for drawing and got permission for her to assist with the creations.

“I was there day and night,” Ferrante remembered. “She used to pay me $5 per week.”

Grown up and living in Florida, Ferrante mastered her craft and made piñatas for many people.

“I did a lot of piñatas in Florida because of the Cuban population,” Ferrante said.

One of her more elaborate pieces was a Jessica Rabbit-like creation similar to the character in the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

Ferrante made it for a man who was turning 75. His wife asked for something sexy for her ladies man.

“She said, ‘I need something like a sexy woman. She said like a Coca-Cola (bottle-shaped) woman,” laughed Ferrante.

“They had the best time. He said that was the best birthday he ever had.”

Some of the piñatas she’s creating right now include artwork she did of singer Justin Bieber on a piñata for a 15-year-old girl’s birthday.

She also created a Spider-Man piñata for another family.

Others she’s made are reminiscent of other popular cartoon characters.

One she made for her then 2-year-old son, now 18, was a character

from “Bananas in Pajamas.”

“He was in love with that show,” Ferrante said.

“He used to sing and stuff. It was very innocent. It was so good.”

Among her photos of her work is one with his piñata, his face leaned into the vibrant yellow character.

For more information about Ferrante’s work, call her at 466-2735.