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Children’s Festival transforms Nevada City’s Pioneer Park into magical world

Taia Greco
Staff Writer
A young knight and a metal dragon meet at last year’s Children’s Festival.
Submitted photo |

Know & Go

What: Nevada City Children’s Festival

When: 9 a.m.- noon and from 5 - 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Pioneer Park, Nevada City

Web: http://www.thechildrensfestival.com

Info: info@childrens festival.com

With the help of more than 200 volunteers and numerous local businesses, Nevada City’s Pioneer Park will be transformed into a Renaissance Faire for children in just a matter of hours.

“Founded in 1971 by Pat Cobler and Ilse Barnhart, the Children’s Festival continued as an annual summer event for 19 years,” according to the event’s website (www.TheChildrensFestival.com)

“It was revived in 2003, after a lapse of 13 years, as a memorial tribute to Ilse Barnhart and to give children of all ages a chance to enjoy a time of low-tech fun, where imagination, not automation, rules the day.”

For only $3 per person, the Children’s Festival provides kids with an entire day to expand their knowledge while having fun at the same time.

“(I) don’t want anyone to not come because of money,” said Roseanne Burke, a longtime festival volunteer.

This year, the festival will feature the Pirates of Sacramento “Pyrate Skool” and four-time world juggling champion Barry Friedman and his son, Zed.

After forming as a joke in 2005, the Pirates of Sacramento “Pyrate Skool” has grown to become a group that both educates and entertains children in a number of ways.

The “Pyrate Skool” provides knowledge about historical artifacts, and fun props such as monkey cannons while working to explain to the audience the effect pirates have had on the things we use today.

“We love entertaining the kids,” said “Cannincali,” a captain of Pirates of Sacramento.

Returning to the festival after a 10-year hiatus, Barry and Zed Friedman will be performing in two shows. They will be 15 to 20 minutes long in the latter part of the day. The Friedmans will be demonstrating fancy tricks using Chinese yo-yos, bull whips and participation from the audience. Their performance will also include tricks such as fire juggling.

Along with his brother Dan, Barry Friedman has traveled around the world, making their group, The Raspyni Brothers (see accompanying video at http://www.TheUnion.com), known in both America and Europe.

“I hope people come there and get inspired,” said Barry Friedman.

The Children’s Festival will be hosted from 9 a.m. to noon and then again 5-8 p.m. on Friday.

Each year, the festival draws more than 2,000 people who come to enjoy themselves in various ways.

The festival is sponsored by many local businesses, as well as the Nevada City Rotary Club. With that support, festival organizers are able to put together a day full of fun setting up nearly 20 different tables of various activities.

Some of those activities include face-painters, spinning demonstrations and medieval fencing.

In addition, there will be a bridge-guarding troll, a bevy of faeries, Pepper the Witch, Queen Elizabeth and her court, Mother Goose and a life-sized mechanical dragon.

“They completely transform Pioneer Park,” said Burke.

For several months, volunteers meet at weekly workshops to prepare the various arts and crafts and make decorations for the one-day celebration, the website states.

Children are able to make their own costumes, swords, shields and magic wands, and engage in wood block construction, soapstone carving and clay modeling.

A medieval cardboard castle will be available for all to paint.

“Children with fond memories of the original festivals are now bringing their own children to delight in the magic of this unique celebration of creativity and community spirit,” the website states.

Taia Greco is a Ghidotti Early College High School senior serving as an intern at The Union.

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