By THL Asa Gormsdottir
"Yes, Virginia, there really is a Children's Pennsic..." Eagerly awaited by kids and parents alike, the 8th Annual Known World Children's Fete was held yesterday in the Barn from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. Hosted by the Kingdom of Atlantia, the Fete was open to children 4-12 years old, with teenage helpers especially welcome.
Excited children lined up four lines deep with their parents in front of the Barn to have their medallion numbers registered and waivers signed before they were released into the maze of activities. Offering a dizzying array of well-stocked booths, refreshments and enthusiastic volunteers, the Fete was a kids' paradise.
There were activities to suit every age and temperament, all with a period theme. Physical games included 2-person tug-of-war (while balanced on little wooden footrests), beanbag and horseshoe tosses, and boffer fighting with aquanoodle swords. Young Jared, son of the Prince and Princess of Ealdormere, was observed vigorously clearing the adult opponents from the boffer field with a few well-chosen strokes!
A booth on the center dais offered face and body painting - and not pedestrian designs either, as proven by the two little warriors who walked past comparing the beautiful Celtic snakes coiling around their arms.
More quiet pursuits included Viking necklace construction, paper pinwheels, origami without the tantrums, and crepe paper rosettes for their own Lady of the Rose (aka Mom). There were giant games of Draughts (checkers) with outsize game pieces, and storytelling.
Others painted beautiful knotwork design bookmarks with little individual paint sets, painted "stained glass" pictures, or constructed Pennsic books/journals to take home, watched over by ridiculous squid-like balloon animals.
Especially appreciated were the Fletcher Puppeteers, whose topical tales and enthusiastic puppet action were hugely enjoyed. Here's one of their stories, "The Lion and the Mouse":
A Mouse met a Lion in the woods and asked to be his friend. The Lion (a King) roared, "Be my friend?! You're too small to be my lunch!" and the Mouse scurried off. Suddenly, the Tuchux appeared and captured the King with a net! The King called for his Champion (he was having a nap), his Knights (mending their armor), and his Retainers (out getting ice cream). No one came. Then, the Mouse came back. Snarling viciously, he tore the net away and beat off the Tuchux. The grateful King gave the Mouse an AOA. The moral: "Never too small to help".
The Fletcher Puppeteers are Remus Fletcher and his son Orion, of the Debatable Lands, AEthelmearc. Between acts, 12-year-old Orion explained, "I like stories that teach us lessons, funny stories." Pennsic XXXIV marks Orion's 7th year in puppetry!
Remarkably, despite the high traffic (over 200 children in attendance mid-afternoon), there was limited litter and no tear-stained faces. Everyone was clearly having a good time.
Duchesses Arielle the Golden and Ysabelle Grimault presided over the festivities. Duchess Arielle took a few moments to express her thanks to all the volunteers, particularly Lady Medb ingen Brian, Atlantia's Minister of Children, who was a great help in putting the Fete together, and the Barony of Sacred Stone who sponsored the refreshments. Congratulations on delivering such a successful event!
During the rest of the week, children can participate in various activities at Children's Point. Today, there is a Children's Theatre Performance at the Pavilion at 1 pm. Also, kids who missed a chance to learn about and draw a stained glass picture should come to Children's Point today at 1 pm. On Friday, Children's Point activities include Castles (10-12 pm), Intro to Cross Stitch (1-2 pm), and Stories and Puppet Show (2-3 pm). Dame Nicholaa Halden is this year's Youth Activities Coordinator and warmly welcomes all parents and children looking for a sheltered spot to learn and enjoy new activities. Water and baby wipes are provided to help keep little ones hydrated and clean. Donations are always welcome.
Activities geared to teenagers include the Teen Bardic Performance on Friday, August 19 at 2:00 pm, AEthelmearc Royal encampment, and the East Kingdom Teen Party III, also on Friday, from 7:00 - 11:00 pm at the East Kingdom Royal Encampment. Teens from 13 to 17 are welcome to join for food, music, games and fun with your friends!