Totem Pole Playhouse Family Fun Fest packed with entertainment, education

May 24, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. -- After a day of Native American headdress making, teepee building, face painting, magic show watching, corn grinding, stage acting, theater touring and cultural learning, the only thing 9-year-old Nathan Haugh of Waynesboro, Pa., could think to make the 2008 Totem Pole Playhouse Family Fun Fest even better was a roller coaster. And maybe a clown.

While the Totem Pole Playhouse did not book a coaster or a clown for its seventh annual festival, the jam-packed event on Saturday kept children and parents entertained, fed and educated for hours.

Sue McMurtray, executive director of the playhouse, said people consider the backstage, costumed world of theater a mystery. Her hope was that the festival would solve the mystery and open the children to a wonderful world of color, character and spontaneity.

"A DVD is the same no matter how many times you watch it, but on stage, a performance one day can be different from the next," she said. "That is the magic of live theater."


Live theater filled the playhouse in the woods Saturday, with the open rehearsal for the upcoming Totem Pole season and numerous magic shows. Even children were given a moment in the limelight to create their own play.

"Today is the best day ever," Nathan said. "There was all kinds of stuff to do. We learned, too."

Skylar Lambert, 6, of Waynesboro, said she learned a lot about the Native Americans who once lived in Michaux State Forest, which is home to the playhouse.

"And we learned that Indians used to take rocks and put them on arrows to kill deer and they lived in teepees and log huts," she said, the feather in her headdress bouncing up and down. "It was the best day ever."

Saturday also was the best turnout ever for the Family Fun Fest.

Held every year over Memorial Day weekend, McMurtray said the festival kicks off the season by bringing people to the playhouse for a fun, family-centered day.

"I have never seen this many people at one of these," McMurtray said. "This is absolutely fantastic."

The Totem Pole Playhouse begins its season on May 31 with "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure."

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