Even though it is still summer by most American calendars, fall and winter planning are well underway at Strawbery Banke. The two events that started off my career as Manager of Special Events are coming around again and I am super excited to add a little of my own creativity into them this year.
Ghosts on the Banke: last year I had only just started less than a month before our Halloween event, so mostly I was carrying out the vision of the last person in my position. "Ghosts" is a safe trick-or-treat that last for two hours per evening on Friday and Saturday the weekend before Halloween. It is a small budget event, and most of that budget is spent on candy so over the years it has gotten away from being a history event, though it is still about community. This year I'm going to try to bring a little history back, by enlisting the help of local theater groups: improv troupes, high school clubs, anyone I can find, to tell "ghost stories" or historical themed skits and scenes on the grounds during the event. I'm going to have to put in some miles tracking down groups to participate but hopefully this will add a new level of community involvement, more history, and lot more life to the event.
Our holiday event: Candlelight Stroll is also on my mind. To this one I need to add more outdoor activity. This is not that easy to do in December in New England, but that is what I am hoping to do. I am trying to increase the number of caroling groups, or at least spread them out more evenly over the three weekends; I am hoping to work with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troupes to get them involved, and I have been given the okay to hire more costumed role players!
The last one is the one closest to my heart, I've done so much historical interpretation, acting, role playing, whatever you want to call it, myself. I think it is a great way to bring history to life, and Renaissance Faires have taught me that it is also a great way to keep a crowd entertained. Since we have houses ranging in date from 1690 to 1950 I am looking forward to hiring people to portray all sorts of townsfolk from all sorts of eras. I've already written up the casting call even though I will not put it out until September. The next step as far as putting more costumed role players on site is to start in on the research, also tons of fun, and something I have missed doing!
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Well it has been a busy spring and summer for us here. In mid-June baby Percival was born! We are both healthy and happy. I’m getting used to being parent to an infant, he is learning important stuff like digesting milk, and waving his arms and legs.
|Percy in his antique pram, Lilly looking on.|
This past Sunday we got all dolled up and went to a Roaring Twenties lawn party hosted by Boston Swing Central, held at the amazingly lavish Crane Estate at Castle Hill. I heard about the event last year through some blogs I read, but had forgotten about it until the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers’ newsletter arrived in my inbox. I did not get the news letter in enough time for the initial date, but the event was postponed due to rain which gave us one week to prepare. I was so desperate to get dressed up and get out of the house that I was determined to go even though we did not have proper attire, nor the energy to make up the clothes etc.. I did manage to convince our friends to come out with us with their cutie 2 year old daughter. They pulled stuff out of their closets, I scoured TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, Stephen wore his lovely tailored suit, and Percy wore an actual vintage piece, sewn for Stephen’s grandmother when she was a baby. My mother pulled the vintage pram out of the attic that she used to push me in when I was a baby, and we bought picnic stuff on the way out of town.
|The Shellenbeans, photo by Amanda Sullivan|
The weather was fine, the band was amazing, the dancers looked fabulous, and the site was extravagant. There were some impressive antique cars, and some of the vintage shops from Boston had come out with their wares. I did not do any dancing myself but it was fun to sit on the blanket, eat cucumber sandwiches, and watch the well dressed people go by. The crowd was so different from any of the other events we attend. There were a lot of folks in their mid-twenties to early thirties looking spiffy in their vintage duds. Then there were the slightly older couples who were obviously there to dance. Generally the audience felt more hipster and less nerdy than the Renaissance faire crowd, though he clothing level was about that you might find at a Renaissance Faire: some really awesome, most folks at least trying, way too many sneakers. There were a few kids in attendance, but only a few. The crowd was also very different from those at battle reenactments: much younger, much more relaxed and fairly evenly divided between men and women. Surprisingly, it was also a different crowd from either the SCA dance events we attend, or the Colonial and Civil War dances: those tend to be much much smaller, a little more welcoming to newcomers, and fairly heavily clothing centered. All in all, attending this event made me feel really lucky to live in an area where I can participate in such an amazing variety of Living History events.
|The Sullivan family, photo by Alena Shellenbean|
Percy was such a good baby. He was fine in the car until we were almost there, then he submitted to the funny dress and the crocheted cap once he was in a clean diaper. He enjoyed bouncing along the in the old pram, and when we got to our picnic spot he nursed, lay on the blanket for a while, then fell asleep and went back in the pram. We got a ton of compliments on our own antique transportation, and folks adored Percy in his finery. We were only able to stay out for a few hours, none of us are sleeping through the night, but it was so worth it.
Now we’ve got to get back into the sewing room and get ready for the fall! Read this entry on entry page