Traditions Thrive at the Childrens Fete

The King of Atlantia taking part in the Children’s Fete
Photo by THL Mary of Montevale

By THL Mary of Montevale,
Editor, The Pennsic Independent

The Wednesday-of-War-Week Children’s Fete at Pennsic has now been going strong for about twenty years. Every year sees a number of traditional, much-loved activities mingling with some new attractions.
Face painting always has one of the longest lines as both boys and girls have favorite designs they want to wear on their faces. I saw pink butterflies, visages of fierce creatures, and what looked like a superhero’s face mask. Henna is new this year, and very popular with the girls who struggled to be patient while waiting their turns for Mistress Asalah al-Hina (Middle) to fashion a graceful floral spray on the back of one hand.
Balloon animals have always been cherished souvenirs of the day, and this year it looked as if the most asked-for figure was a Pikachu fashioned by a few twists of yellow balloons. The balloon crafter this year was Lady Khaula bint Ismail. It took a bit of urging from his father, but finally young Marcus proudly showed off his valued new friend.
Circlets could be made from foam strips embellished with glue-on stickers and gems, followed by duct tape bracelets which were decorated in a similar fashion. Mistress Gisela Szabo (East) presided over this table, custodian of the scissors and glue. Nearby was a make-and take craft that was new to me—fashioning tiny fairy dolls from scraps of glittery fabric, feathers, and tulle.
The “dream” pillows at another table were pockets of colorful cotton fabric into which a stuffing mixture of dried potpourri materials and beans was placed before sealing the pouch. I was informed that they work well placed under your pillow, but are just as useful for tossing.
Painting canvas tote bags remains popular with both boys and girls. A black outline drawing is filled in with your choice of paint colors. Many of the designs were Celtic patterns, but it was a Roman helmet with a brush on the top that looked to be the choice of many boys.
Far and away, the real draw of the afternoon was the portion of the Great Hall which had been marked off for boffer combat between youngsters and adult fighters. This was a sport not just for boys. I personally witnessed a number of angelic-looking little girls bring two Kings and a Prince to their knees or, even more spectacular, to an Oscar-worthy death scene. A good case could be made that the adult fighters look forward to this traditional Fete activity more than the kids do.
There were cold drinks and other refreshments for everyone, quite welcome due to the day’s heat and humidity.
The Fete first begun by volunteers from the Kingdom of Atlantia who wanted to provide a special activity for young Pennsic attendees during War Week when there was so great a focus on adult activities. It now Fete now attracts adult volunteers from throughout the Known World. Many of the women volunteers continue to wear pink for this annual event, honoring Duchess Arielle the Golden of Atlantia, who passed away several years ago due to breast cancer, including Countess Rowan of Atlantia, this year’s Rose sponsor and liaison with attending Royalty. My thanks to Countess Rowan and Lady Aine OGrienan, for helping me gather information for this story.