Tired of the bouncy house idea for parties? Why not invite a local author? Check the SCBWI website to see if there is one near you that would be happy to come to your event for a signing or reading. The money would be better spent giving the children the opportunity to speak with a real author, have a book signed and ask questions.
Great idea for a charity event, too.
What about a corporate event or workshop weekend? Invite a topic related author to your event to talk about what they've written about and then answer questions, sign books, etc. This is much more memorable than a magician or quartet.
This is also a wonderful gift or donation for a school. Many schools have courses on the writing process. Why not inspire them to continue to develop this skill by bringing in an author to talk to them directly about what it takes to write a book?
If you are in the Beaverton/Portland area, contact me about these events. I'd love to work with you.
Illustrators also like to get out of their creative caves to speak and inspire. Again, try the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) website to find someone near you.