Square Stage

Festival

Reflections

A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE

Tiny Princess Chalk Artist on Festival D

              Audrey Lightbody thinks that she is the oldest living resident at Pilgrim Place who served as Chair of Festival some years ago (1995-97). She says, “My first memory of Festival was in the 1970’s….In those years I remember that the luncheon was served on the lawns of Harrison Street from Berkeley to Mayflower…. There were so many people, in the thousands, that it was difficult to walk down Mayflower Road. You were having to twist and turn to get to a particular place. It was joyous!”

              Audrey also remembers the special presentation of the Pilgrim Story that brought fifth grade classes from surrounding areas. Buses were lined up, she recalls, and the kids “reveled” in the story. How different the bustling crowds of those days were from the quiet streets of Pilgrim Place in 2020. Nonetheless, she notes, “we have kept Festival as a place in our hearts.” Thank you, Audrey, for these memories!

THE CLASSIC LOOK OF FESTIVAL

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Since the earliest days of Festival (we have been doing it for seventy-plus years) residents of Pilgrim Place have made it a practice to dress in costume reminiscent of the 1620 “Pilgrims.”  In more recent times some residents have opted to attire in the style and dress of the country and culture where they have served overseas.  One way or the other it adds a charming aspect to two days of Festival and in practical terms, helps to identify residents as hosts to our nearly ten-thousand guests.  It is not unusual to have visitors ask to have their photograph taken with “a Pilgrim,” or “foreigner over there.”  

Every year everyone looks forward to Festival and some of our more senior residents especially enjoy the annual event even when they may not have the energy to craft the things for sale they once did, or spend so much time on their feet staffing a Festival booth.  Still, everyone takes part, most costume and all find a way to contribute to the effort.  For some it may only be in seeing and being seen.  It is not uncommon to have “Pilgrims” identified as such by their dress, sitting in the shade near the booth they once actively staffed, not only being photographed, but engaged in conversation with children and adult guests.  Some questions may focus on “how it was to sail across the sea on the Mayflower,” but more often there are questions about where in the world they served, and how one is engaged in life now here at Pilgrim Place.

This continues to be one the delights – and most treasured aspects of Festival – that even with all the work to make it happen, this is an occasion for personal engagement with the wider community and a time for inter-generational sharing. Ron Evans, Resident

QUESTIONS ASKED EVERY YEAR...

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“How Much Energy Does It Take to Do Festival?”

 

“More than we have… but we don’t know that, so we do it every year in spite of ourselves.  Want to volunteer?… We’re always happy to share the fun.”

“Festival is a great time for everyone.  Why don’t you do it twice a year… one in the Autumn and again in the Spring?”…

 

Because at our age, we just can’t handle that much fun!”

ANOTHER DAY AT FESTIVAL

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Hear the brass band?  Its playing live over the loudspeaker.  A warm cheerful greeting to the Pilgrim Place Festival.  The gates have opened. 

Here come the balloons!  The children have arrived at the festival.  Parents and grandparents have come pushing strollers carrying tote bags and sweaters, all sizes.  Yorkies, poodles, and sheitsus prancing along side.

Some walk in earnest to the shopping booths to get to the best deals, clothing, household items and books are ready to find new homes.  With Christmas little more than a month away others are looking for gifts: weavings, hand crochet and knitted things.  The wood working booth with toys and decor, hand potted dish sets and bowels, quilts and fabric wonders.  Hand made fine jewelry, treasures from all over the world. 

Hungry?  For breakfast it’s coffee and donuts, bakes and sweets.  For lunch you may eat outside for hamburgers and hot dogs and salads or eat a complete sit down Thanksgiving dinner.

At the end of the day the children are slower, faces painted, noses and eye brows pink with cotton candy.  They have sung new songs, ridden on the train, sailed on the ship Mayflower, visited the Wampanoag Native American village, spun yarn and churned butter, helped paint a mural and they proudly carry their glued together sculptures of cardboard and bright shiny recycled objects.  Sounds of the festival begin to ebb.  Another day at the Pilgrim Place Festival.  Judy Chatfield, resident.

FESTIVAL IS OUR
GLUE-IN

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For residents, Festival can be like one big Glue-In of our intentional community. We have so much to work with to create our masterpiece. We have brought and collected many different gifts and treasures of experience, heart and vision as we arrive and make our home here. These gifts are diverse, which makes this created community inventive and vibrant. And, sometimes we don't follow the tradition of gluing on to the flat surface. Like this child, we become the designs-on-two-legs, a walking display of our values. So, whether it's your first Festival or your fiftieth, look around and see the Glue that is Festival. We are more than the stunning collection of pieces and parts - we are the Glue that binds together our intentional community! Jane Heckles, after seeing photo of young boy covered with glue.