Photo by Sean Sreamach
Emmeline, 5, getting her face painted at the children’s fete.
By Dvorianin Aleksander Leonid syn Keinen
The Children’s Fete on Wednesday morning was a rousing success. Held in the Great Hall, volunteers from across the Known World came together to offer a variety of activities for the children of our society.
At the beginning of the day, families were able to pre-register at the Great Hall at 9 in the morning and then were sent on to Family Point, where the Pennsic Mayor led a parade commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Children’s Fete up to the Great Hall and onto the day’s activities.
There was food (hosted by Sacred Stone Barony of Atlantia), arts and crafts of various types (hosted by several different baronies from Atlantia and the East Kingdom), face painting, music, and activities to let the children run around and be active, which included a bouncy castle and “palio races” (stick horses). The musicians not only provided an enjoyable atmosphere but also hosted an instrument petting zoo so that the children could get a chance to touch, strum, and drum on a variety of instruments.
While many of the activities were hosted by groups, a few intrepid individuals ran activity stations themselves, including origami, hosted by Rose Barefoot, the palio races, hosted by Baron Alric, and the ever popular “Whack a Warrior” arena, hosted by Dame Morwenna, with assistance from support and fighters from six kingdoms.
The youngest of the Fete’s individual activity hosts were Elizabeth McClaine, 12, and Kara, 13, both from Atlantia. The two girls took it upon themselves to run a station to apply temporary tattoos to all and sundry and appeared to be quite enjoying themselves. While both of them have been Pennsic attendees since birth, this year is the first they’ve been able to volunteer and said they decided to volunteer at the Fete because “it was the nice thing to do.”
The yearly “Whack a Warrior” arena is one of the most popular stops at the Children’s Fete. Dame Morwena says she’s been running that part of the event for seven or eight years and that several of the fighters who participated today have been assisting since the beginning. With the scheduling of the woods battle, there were definitely a few faces missing, but with eleven fighters there overall there were plenty of people for the children to run ragged. Dame Morewena cheerfully commented, “The ability to die many creative, dramatic deaths is invaluable to the kids, and often harder on the fighters than doing a round in the woods battle!” This year was the first year that the kingdom of Lochach participated, with a fighter who’s badge read only “Captain Lochach” as the representative for his kingdom.
This year, there was a great effort made to streamline security and keep the entrance lines down. The back doors of the Great Hall had netting strung across them to allow airflow, light, and emergency exit while keeping people from walking through the building (or small children from making a break for the outdoors!) A double medallion wristband system was in place to make sure that children left with the appropriate adults, as well. Each child who came in was given a wristband marked with their adult guardian’s medallion number and each adult received one with their children’s number, as an easy method to cross check that children were leaving with the same adult who brought them. The entrance was also arranged so that access was controlled and limited to those who had checked in, but streamlined enough that no family had to wait in line longer than five minutes once the event began.
Overall, the event was smoothly handled, entertaining a total of 294 children and 239 adults, with a total of 116 volunteers from 9 kingdoms, including Atlantia, the East, the Middle, AEthelmearc, Lochac, Ansteorra, Outlands, Northshield, and Meridies. The organizers I spoke with were very pleased to have had such good interkingdom cooperation and hope that next year there will be an even broader representation – and that the Fete wouldn’t conflict with the woods battle!
Lady Jacintha of Highland Foorde, the main coordinator, has offered her email address so that anyone wishing to volunteer next year or provide feedback on this year’s events may contact her at email@example.com.