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Festival provides activities aimed at area young people

May 28, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Hearing that a one-man circus act was coming to Renfrew Park, a 12-year-old boy packed up his unicycle and registered for a preperformance workshop hosted by Ben Sota.

The child had been practicing the unicycle for a year and failed to master certain tricks despite his best efforts.

Sota, who studied at the San Francisco Circus Center and the Trapeze Arts School, led the class, then took the boy aside for a private session.

Later, Sota performed for dozens of families at Renfrew Institute's 18th annual Youth Festival, a day of learning and fun at Renfrew Park.

"It's just such a joy to see so many families together enjoying the park," said Tracy Holliday, a Renfrew Institute staff member who coordinated the event with a committee of three community volunteers.

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Holliday speculated that Sunday's crowd was larger than past years, which have drawn up to 300 people.

A group of girls using sparkly pipe cleaners, plastic beads, foam paper, glue and feathers to create colorful swimsuits might have been the festival's biggest fan club.

"This is the coolest day I had so far this year all year," said Samantha Snesrud, 8, of Waynesboro.

"This is the funnest day they have here," said Natalie Buhrman, 10, of Waynesboro.

"I like the stream. I like walking in the stream," Natalie said.

"Kids really love the creek on a hot day. It's hard to put a kid in a creek and not find contentment," Holliday said.

Thomas Dewald, 8, of Rouzerville, Pa., went to the Youth Festival for the first time and explained what he enjoyed, after he and his family finished eating hot dogs.

"I learned how birds eat," Thomas said. "This time, I'm going to learn how to build a garden."

He interacted with draft horses and a goat, listened to music from the Waynesboro Children's Theatre Troupe and saw an egg freshly delivered by a chicken.

The Youth Festival was underwritten by a grant from Susquehanna Bank.

"They have, for more than a decade, financially supported the event," Holliday said.

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