There was lots – and I mean lots – going on at the Tang Hall Family Festival in York yesterday. It was spread over three sites – Tang Hall Community Centre, St Nicks and Hull Road Park. And it was all free.
I got to two of the three sites. Here are some snaps to give you a flavour of what was going on at the Tang Hall Community Centre site, where I was leading story-telling sessions.
What did I get up to there? Well, I led a story-telling/poetry quest, in which Prince Dennis of Tanghallia explored his kingdom and successfully fulfilled his mission, thus becoming King Dennis of Tanghallia.
And then I welcomed princesses into the golden palace of Tanghallia, where they rode on unicorns and sang songs in praise of Tanghallia. (It may have looked to you as if we were in a yellow gazebo standing on beanbag cubes, but that just shows how little imagination you have!) (By the way, you may remember those beanbag cubes from my visit to Tang Hall Community Centre last December, during which they became sledges and snowballs and pyramids.)
And then those same princesses shed their royal connections and created a story in which we all flew (using our magic powers, natch) to Africa, where we went on an adventure to catch a venomous snake.
I learned last time I was at Tang Hall that the children have amazing amounts of imagination and creative energy, and it was a great pleasure to encourage them to put these into action again on this occasion.
Then, just as I was leaving the site to go home, two children came up to me and asked me to perform some poems for them. How could I refuse? To start with they each chose one of my Buzzing! photos, and I performed the poem that went with each one. But have I mentioned how creative the children round these parts are? When they chose their third photo (a caterpillar), I was about to start performing my caterpillar poem, when they decided – quite rightly – that they could do just as good a job themselves. So there and then, they wrote – and then performed – a caterpillar poem of their own. Which went like this:
My spikes are so hairy
They’re big and they’re scary
And people are frightened of me
I change my ways
And how I behave
And crawl from tree to tree.
By Maisie and Nathan, both aged 10
Thank you to Tang Hall Big Local for inviting me to be part of this Family Festival, and to Tang Hall Community Centre Manager Stephen Collins for letting me use his wonderful beanbag cubes again.
A big thank you, too, to all the fabulously enthusiastic festival-goers who welcomed me back to Tang Hall Community Centre so warmly, and who joined in my events yesterday.
The icing on the cake for me was that I discovered that up on the wall in the Community Centre lounge are two beautifully framed photos taken during my December story-telling workshops. I was absolutely thrilled to see them there.
So, that’s a brief run-down of the Tang Hall Community Centre part of this 3-venue festival. (Though I forgot to mention the belly dancers, the bouncy castle, the ukelele players, the face painter, the pizza making, the ice lollies, the virtual reality headset, and … and … and!) I also looked in at the St Nicks part of the festival yesterday too. But I’ll tell you about that another time.
Meanwhile, if you live down Tang Hall way, do keep tabs on all the great activities that Tang Hall Big Local puts on.
STOP PRESS: And for a video of the Family Festival events, see