FIFTH-GRADE PUPILS, their parents, teachers and other visitors recently turned back time at the Medieval Day Festival at Friendship Valley Elementary School.
They threw javelins, walked on stilts, jousted from tricycles and reveled in the 16th century.
"I love this festival and I've only been here for 20 minutes," Jeff McDonogh said at the beginning of the festivities.
"This sure beats writing paragraphs, and right now it's [integrated language arts] time and we would be writing paragraphs," Ian Bucacink said.
"This is definitely better," Lizzie Mahaney said. "Look at my crown," she said, showing headgear draped with ribbons and flowers.
The Fifth Grade Medieval Festival has become a school tradition that grows each year. Parent volunteers coordinated the menu (chicken legs, meatballs, breads and fruits), crafts and activities months in advance.
Dressed as kings, queens, peasants, court jesters and knights, participants roamed from activity to activity. They carved soap, shot candy from slingshots at cans, and challenged each other at chess and checkers. The festival included face painting, sewing, weaving and the popular pudding-eating contest.
Some pupils downed the whipped cream-topped pudding in less than 20 seconds. Those who waited for a turn heard advice from seasoned contestants: "Just do it like Sean Sullivan did," Ryan Klages advised. "Put your whole face in the bowl and just [slurp]."
"You've been here twice, you better wait or you will get sick," said Sherine Bollinger, a parent volunteer at the pudding-eating table and mother of fifth-grader Kurt Bollinger.
"Yeah, I know and I haven't even had lunch yet," said Eric Biller.
Not far from the pudding-eating contest, Joe Hickey (father of fifth-grader Lauren Hickey) juggled colorful balls and offered to teach pupils the skill. Most of his pupils were quick to ditch their efforts and play with footbags instead.
For weeks before the festival, the fifth-graders participated in a language arts unit that incorporated books about Medieval times, including Redwall, Door in the Wall, Castle in the Attic, Whipping Boy and the Kids Discover Knights series.
"It's good to see the kids taking things that they learn in class and making them reality," said Ed Fuchs, a parent volunteer (and father of Adam Fuchs), who manned the javelin toss for the festival.
Mark Lohr, an entertainer and magician with Starleigh Entertainment Business, ended the festival on a rousing note. As pupils filed back to their classrooms, parents packed up leftover craft supplies and instructions for next year's Medieval Festival Committee.
"It was great to bring these students together at the beginning of the year," said Patty Kelley (mother of Ryan Kelley), and in charge of festival publicity. "Before we know it, it will be time to plan their graduation ceremony. It all happens so quickly."
Annual poinsettia sale
The Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County is selling poinsettias to benefit survivors of sexual assault in Carroll County.
Orders of $80 or more paid by Nov. 26 will be delivered by 4 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5.
"It's an exciting time of year around the office as we gear up for this sale," said Susan Kachur, staff therapist.
Red, white, pink, plum pudding and jingle bells (red, pink and white in the same pot) poinsettias are available in several sizes. Prices range from a 5-inch pot for $6 to the 10-inch basket with a red poinsettia or begonias for $20.
Information or orders: 410-857-0900.
Westminster resident Denise Arnett honors Margaret "Marge" Buzzerd as her living treasure this week. This living treasure tribute is part of neighborhood parents' efforts to let Buzzerd know that they appreciate her work as a school bus driver for their elementary school children.
"We altered a calendar so that it read `Marge Appreciation Day' last week and gave her a basket filled with goodies," Arnett said.
"We know that our children are safe with her," Arnett said. "And she has a great sense of humor about parents racing to get their children to the bus stop with all the necessary stuff, including kisses goodbye."
Brighten the day of someone who has made a positive difference in your life. Submit a name and specific reasons why that person has been your living treasure to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157, 410-848-4703.
Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.