Much More Than Child’s Play

By Lady Mary of Montevale
Features Reporter

The annual Children’s Fete, held in the barn on Wednesday afternoon, was its usual great deal of noise, lines for the most popular activities, and volunteer staff having almost as much fun as the children…but only almost.
There were virtually no lines for registration, however. Thanks to the addition of more volunteers on troll and a pre-registration procedure earlier in the day, no one had to wait in a line instead of just getting right in there to begin having fun. By 3 PM about 300 children had been signed in and more were still arriving for the last hour of the fete.
Many of the day’s activities were repeats from previous years such as the boffer fighting against adult fighters, including knights and royalty. His Highness Duke Cuan of Atlantia was on the “list field,” facing a young lad in a green and yellow tunic who wasted no time in landing a veritable storm of blows around His Highness’s head and shoulders. The next opponent was a slender blond fellow who could have been dubbed the “black knight” from his outfit. He quickly scored a blow to Cuan’s chest and grinned widely before taking a very light tap to his own front and turning it into a “death” scene worthy of an Oscar. The score in their bout was Black Knight 3, Prince 1 when I moved on to see some of the other activities that filled the barn from one end to another.
Once again this year, Baronessa Anna Bella di Cherubin (East) donated all the materials for up to 400 youths to paint heraldic designs on muslin tote bags that could be taken home once they were dry. Assisting her was Baroness Ellesbeth Donofrey (also East) who had created many of the designs which are pre-printed on bags for a children to fill in with bright colors of fabric paint. Ellesbeth pointed out to me when I admired three of the designs that they were new this year and Byzantine in origin because the Queen of the East is Byzantine.
At the Henna Station, Anabel de Berchlai (Middle) was applying a traditional floral design to the hand of Marissa, age 14 (East). This young lady had not yet decided whether to move on to the other end of the station where Kenzie, a volunteer from the Midrealm, was “frosting” the freshly applied henna with colored glitter for those who wanted it. She told me that pink and red were the most popular colors. Later at other activities, I also saw a number of young gentlemen who sported serpentine henna designs glittered with blue.
The two origami tables were having to fight a bit with the gusty winds to keep from losing their supplies of paper and some sample projects. I was shown a penguin made from light green paper with a floral design, two pelicans—one solid red and the other a blue and yellow print—and a raspberry colored Big Fat Rabbit. Linette, age 10 (Æthelmearc), made a jumping frog and a paper crane.
Her sister Giselle, age 11, had been to the face painting area in order to be transformed into a princess before moving on to the longest, slowest line of the day (the one for balloon creations) where she intended to acquire a tiara.
One of the many face painting volunteers asked if I would like something drawn on my cheek. As she set to work on copying my device from a sticker on my reporter’s flash drive, I heard the next painter over say to Ethan, age 7 (Middle), “Now you know how it feels for girls when they have makeup put on.” Ethan was being transformed into a pirate, complete with a black eye patch around his left eye.
Countess Adelicia and other members of the Barony of Tir-y-don (Atlantia) were once again handling the bead necklace table, a project that has been theirs for four years or so. They donate the beads and string, get together to make the “fiddly bits,” and then staff the activity at the fete. The Countess told me there were supplies for 100 to 150 children to make necklaces. One of the young jewelers I saw hard at work selecting beads was Madeline, age 5, from my own shire. She finally settled on a selection of blues, greens, gold, and white. Mom helped her string them while Dad, still in his armor, stood patiently by with the “goody” basket which already contained a pinwheel that Madeline has made earlier.
Morwenna, the Chirurgeon for the Children’s Fete who has served in the position since her first Pennsic five years ago, pointed out to me how many sets of parents both make time in their busy War Week schedule to attend this event with their children. She ascribed the success of this annual event, which is such an important part of so many children’s Pennsic experience, to the generosity of so many volunteers who give of their time and effort as well as donating the supplies for it.
One such group is the Barony of Sacred Stone (Atlantia) which donates all the refreshments every year. Countess Brianna, who was in charge of this aspect of the fete this year, has worked in some aspect for every Children’s Fete since the first one in AS XXVI because she was in the same household as Duchess Arielle.
In case you do not already know, the Children’s Fete was the brainchild of Her Grace (who had no children herself), and she had always been its guiding force and inspiration. Sadly, two years ago right before the War, Arielle lost a long and courageous battle against breast cancer. This lovely, brave woman is still very much in the minds of her many friends and the other volunteers, some of whom continued this year to wear pink garb in her memory. All volunteer name tags were printed with the familiar breast cancer pink ribbon again at Pennsic XL as the Children’s Event continues to be held, and to grow, in honor of Her Grace’s memory.

Eastern Archer Champions shoot the Friend-Foe challenge at Wednesday’s Archer Champions
shoot. Complete details will be published in Friday’s paper