SOUTHINGTON - The past came to life Saturday, in a kid-friendly form, at the Southington Public Library’s second annual Renaissance Faire.
Downstairs, children’s librarian Molly Virello led a group of children costumed as knights, princesses, and at least one Batman, in capturing a dragon. Actually, it was a piñata dragon that they were attempting to toss a hoop over.
Virello also supplied a set of plastic helmet and armor, plus a toy horse, for the kids to each have a chance to “ride” through an obstacle course.
She declared their efforts “Awesome!” and then began setting up for the “Lord of the Pies” contest, in which anyone who wanted could submit their homemade pie - a sweet pie, a savory pie, a tart, a quiche, or whatever they wanted.
“Anybody could be a taste tester and put their ballot in for who they think should ‘win best pie,’” she said.
Earlier there was a “Birds of Prey” show, courtesy of Christine’s Critters, an avian wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Weston. “They brought a couple of hawks and an eagle, and talked about falconry, about rehabilitation, and about the different types of animals that they brought,” Virello said.
Over in the Children’s Department, there was face painting and Ye Olde Story Time. Children’s librarian Andrea True read picture books “The Sunflower Sword,” by Mark Sperring, and “The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight,” by Eli Woolard.
Story time started out with a big group but many of the kids were soon drawn over to the Playroom, where the movie “How to Train Your Dragon 2” was starting. Two little girls, one dressed as a mermaid and one with a butterfly painted on her face, remained behind, fascinated by True’s stories.
Upstairs, Cindy Wall, children’s department head, and Lynn Pawloski, children’s librarian, were helping other children make jester hats and “stained glass” windows, using colored paper. There was also a display of various types of swords and knives, made from real metal but with blunted edges.
“The weapons are mine and my friend’s,” Virello said. “They’re all beat up because we use them for sparring practice, but they’re not sharp. They’re meant to just be practice swords. They look really cool, but they’re not antiques, just replicas.”
The idea for the library’s event grew out of her involvement with the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, she said. “I volunteer with the Hitting and Stabbing Emporium there, where I teach people how to throw axes, daggers, spears, anything sharp. Now I’m one of the knights in the ‘Fight the Knight’ ring, so kids can fight with foam swords. We try to teach them to do it in a safe way.”
The library’s version of a “faire” is adapted for young children, she said. “Comic-cons and renaissance faires can be expensive to go to, but this is free and in a little kid-friendly environment. This way you can test it out and find out if you and your kids are into it before spending the money for a weekend renaissance fare experience.”
Virello credits Wall for making it all possible. “When we go to her with all of our crazy ideas, she is very encouraging and super supportive,” she said. “Our department is so collaborative based that one person will have an idea, and everyone else will come up with more ideas to flesh it out.”
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.