By: Ashlyn Rhodes – Pioneer Park has been turned into a Renaissance wonderland for the day. The annual Children’s Festival has stormed the park grounds with an army of volunteers to convert picnic tables and trees into a magical forest full of performers and crafts, and even a castle. The festival is a family-friendly event and runs from 9 a.m. to noon, then takes a break before starting back up at 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Sharon Brown, who helps to organize the event, says that it has grown significantly since it was started in 1971 by Pat Cobler and Ilse Barnhart.
Throughout the day there will be performances by Penny the Clown, Pepper the Witch, and Queen Elizabeth. A knight in full armor and the Pirates of Sacramento have made the journey to be part of the festivities. Children can see a real fire breathing dragon and bargin with a brdige-guarding troll. During the evening session, Barry and Zed Friedman will perform juggling tricks, and the Harvest Home Revelers will show children a sword dance. Attendees can get a more hands-on experience at the many craft tables available. Soapstone and wood carvings, sun prints, jewelry-making, and castle-painting will all be free, and organiser Karen Nelson says anyone who doesn’t come in costume has the opportunity to leave in one.
Brown says that the event takes all year to organize and involves hundreds of volunteers. Despite the success the fair has seen, though, organizers have no plans to expand the event beyond Pioneer Park.
All performances and activities are free. Snacks and drinks will be on sale during both sessions and hot dogs and pasties will be available for purchase during the evening session only. Admission to the event is 3 dollars– the same price it’s always been.