Fall Festival has booths with crafts, small items for sale, food booths and even a little mini-carnival. I took the older children to see what was there this year. Last time I went, I found quite a few fun little things to bring home and the children enjoyed the sights. I went with some of the older children as Woodjie and Rose wouldn't handle this well.
One thing that struck me this year was that about a third of the booths were run by church groups. I had no clue that there were something like six Baptist churches in town who wanted to set up competing booths around the Square. Actually, that's kinda funny. And I know of several other Baptist churches around that didn't bother setting up a booth (about five more in this town alone come to mind immediately, and I am no connoisseur of churches!)
Usually it goes down like this: we will be walking by and a clown or person making balloon animals will jump out at the kids and start in on the spiel. "You need to come to our church! We have something for everyone! You want a balloon? We have a great youth group. Give this card to Mom. ("herds" Mom toward booth) Oh, here's Pastor Z! What a coincidence. Hiiiii, Pastor Z!"
LOL Well, it's that kind of town. What can I say?
Actually, they were very nice people. Some of them even put up with being stabbed repeatedly with balloon swords and threatened with the wooden daggers I bought for Elf and Emperor. One booth sold little bags of "puppy chow mix" and they wanted the children to try it.
"No, thanks," Emperor told them. "You see, we don't eat dog food. We eat only people food at our house." One of the ladies at the booth laughed and told them it was fit for human consumption.
"That means you can eat it! It is made with Chex mix, chocolate and peanut butter. Try one." Emperor cautiously took one and looked it over carefully before nibbling its edge. Then he grabbed the bag to take home. Yum.
But Elf refused to try any. "I don't like to try new things," he told them.
Wow. No running away scared. No hiding behind Mom. A simple and polite explanation. Wow. I think he would have liked it had he tried it, but it DID look rathermuch like puppy chow. And... once he heard it was "puppy chow," that was pretty much the end of that idea. I'm not going to push him, especially since he was so polite about it.
We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant and bought some Hawaiian icee-type drinks to sip on the way home. It was fun, but I don't know that I'd go next year. There really wasn't that much to do. And honestly, I was *shocked* by the fact that in addition to the bonafide church groups and bonnet stores that dominated the landscape, there was a "passion party" booth AND an "explore the paranormal" group.
I mentioned my shock at this to one of my friends and she said that probably we just need more churches at the festival and maybe somebody oughtta talk to Pastor about our church setting up one, too. Seems to be the thing to do.
But I'm not sure.
Well, I can't say I *disliked* having so many churches out there. It was encouraging to see so many people out there proclaiming their church and faith. But it isn't why we went to the festival and past a certain point, it's rather disappointing because the churches aren't selling marshmallow guns and stuff like that. I would want more of the fun things we saw: bonnet shops and places with "real Indians" selling tomahawks with leather "blades" to little boys. Popcorn stalls. Pan for "real gems" in a mini-sluice mine. Handcarved walking sticks and handmade breadboards. Locally grown monster pumpkins. Sand art creations. The Conservationist department and its collection of animal fur and skulls found locally... including a small cat and a turtle.
Not passion parties, paranormal stuff, churches, or "redo the windows in your house; here's a brochure" places. Maybe it's just me. Maybe other people go to a "fall festival" with ideas like, "WOW! I can't wait to explore the paranormal, meet seven youth pastors and check into buying an entire houseful of windows!" when they set out, but I usually don't. :]