"Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds," the 2005 summer reading theme for the Cape Girardeau Public Library, was played out by patrons and volunteers Saturday during a Renaissance fair. A steady flow of area residents, numbering about 60 at any given time, were entertained by staff and volunteers in period costumes.
Children and adults engaged in medieval activities, including jousting on hobby horses made from paper bags and yarn, drinking alcohol-free mead --typically a beverage made from water, malt, honey and yeast -- and donning circlets or Robin Hood hats.
Kyndall Volkerding, 7, who came to the fair with her cousins and grandmother, enjoyed eating pickles on a stick.
Ten-year-old Nathan Fridley got a chance for role play as St. George in the dramatic comedy, "St. George and the Dragon." The troupe of six, once rehearsed, needed no practice when it came to the fight scene or the part when they all died.
Sharon Anderson, youth services coordinator at the library, saw good things in everyone's future as she gazed into a crystal ball that told about 50 library-related fortunes. Anderson suggested titles to patrons whose fortunes she told and encouraged youngsters to read, predicting, "The more you read the more you know."
Between youth, teen and outreach services, about 700 are signed up for the summer reading program.
Besides encouraging reading about history, promoting family time and offering free admission, the Renaissance fair was educational for children. Attacking a castle with marshmallows shot from catapults made of rubber bands, spoons and cardboard paper rolls introduced simple construction and provided images of how wars were fought that will be more real for them when they learn about history.
Chris Gonzales of Cape Girardeau heard about the Renaissance Fair when she signed her children up for the reading programs at the library. She'd attended Renaissance fairs in St. Louis and thought it would be a good way to spend time with her children.
"Families are so busy these days it's hard to find time to spend with your children," Gonzales said. "It's important to make the time to spend with your kids. I'm glad the library provides this."
335-6611, extension 133