Youth have hands-on fun at Renfrew festival

May 29, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Children with colorful designs painted on their faces Sunday moved between various workshops, presentations and craft tables nestled in the trees of Renfrew Park during Renfrew Institute's 17th annual Youth Festival.

"We see everybody here, from babies to grandparents, having a blast. The families of the region all just love this event. It's one of the only free family events," Event Coordinator Tracy Holliday said.

The day, underwritten by Susquehanna Bank, featured a performance by the Waynesboro Children's Theatre Troupe, visits from Belgian horses, a scavenger hunt, a discovery presentation of reptiles and kayaking opportunities in the stream. The festival was geared to children from preschool to middle school.

"We hand out these fliers to the visiting school children," Holliday said, explaining why visitors hailed from as far away as Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Smithsburg.


"We normally have about 300 people in the park, and we may actually exceed that," Holliday said early in the afternoon.

At one table set off to the side, art teacher Tom McFarland presented a take-home project as he has done almost every year the event has been held.

"We're making bird nests out of clay. We looked at bird nests and eggs," McFarland said.

Children as young as 4 used an extruder to create spaghetti-like strands of clay.

Raheel Khan, 9, of Waynesboro, sporting a painted spider web on his face, put the finishing touches on his nest and said he would "probably put it in my grandmother's China hutch to keep it safe."

Nearby, Emeigh Schabel, 4, of Fayetteville, Pa., joined her mother, Kimberly, for a scavenger hunt that encouraged alphabet skills.

"She's done a glimmer fish and a rainbow butterfly, and she got her face painted," Kimberly Schabel said. Emeigh, who was at the festival for the first time, said she would like to return next year.

Gabe McClellan, 4, of Waynesboro was "looking for animals" in the same scavenger hunt with siblings, Casey, 6, and Nick, 3. Gabe said he was excited to "get my face painted."

Holliday said the weather was ideal for the event, compared to past years when the rain location had to be used or volunteers huddled under blankets to stay warm.

Over the years, the Youth Festival has relied on several volunteers to oversee operations. This year's festivities were chaired by Kathy Bourdeau, Kim Sheffler and Vicki Sprenkle, according to Holliday.

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