Children and the Arts committee brings lite version to downtown Peterborough

  • Puppets from previous Children and the Arts festivals on display in downtown Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Puppets from previous Children and the Arts festivals on display in downtown Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Puppets from previous Children and the Arts festivals on display in downtown Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Puppets from previous Children and the Arts festivals on display in downtown Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/12/2021 3:02:22 PM

Tina Kriebel described this year’s rendition of Children and the Arts Festival as a lite version.

There’s no way the festival could be held in its traditional way, with hundreds of people marching and gathering around downtown Peterborough on a Saturday in May but after scrapping the plans completely in 2020, there had to be something. It’s too important to the community, the board of Children and the Arts – and Kriebel, chair of the Children and the Arts committee.

“It’s my favorite day. It’s like Christmas for me,” Kriebel said.

Since late last week, the committee has been hard at work filling local downtown business storefronts with a host of items to honor the past. Steele’s Stationers on Main Street is an ode to festival posters from the past, comprising many of the unique announcements from the 26-year history that began in 1994.

At 30 Grove St., the former home of Sharon Arts and the newest location for Monadnock Academy for Movement Arts, the large windows are home to a handful of giant puppets from yesteryear, including a dragon, sun, bobcat and pirate, as well as lanterns, old photos and flags. Local businesses were paired up with classrooms from around the ConVal School District to display artwork created by students. The window displays will be up through May 22 and a fun scavenger hunt has been planned for families to enjoy it all.

More student work will be on display in Putnam Park from Friday through Sunday, as children from schools across the ConVal district have been hard at work creating specifically for the installation. The collection of work will likely be in the hundreds, Kriebel said, and will be attached to doors, much like it has been done throughout the history of the festival.

“A lot of the teachers were excited to be able to do something with their students,” Kriebel said. “And that’s part of it all. Giving the kids a chance to show off their artistic chops.”

There will also be a dozen or so mugboards in the park, which have been created over the years.

“They’re big and have a presence,” Kriebel said of the mugboards. “It’s always fun to watch families create their family photos with them.”

Kriebel said they secured tents in case of inclement weather, which will allow the installation to go on no matter the circumstances.

While a lot of the displays are an ode to the past, Kriebel said the idea is to look forward and also remind people that Children and the Arts will return to normal one day – hopefully in 2022. Children and the Arts typically has a theme each year, but the committee decided to skip one for 2021 and instead just find a way to celebrate “the day we turn the town over to the kids,” Kriebel said.

“We’re keeping the focus on the future,” Kriebel said. “Because we want to be together again. This is really a lily pad on the way to getting back to what we really want to do.”

They won’t be doing any performances this year because the idea is to have people wander around and not gather.

“But we’ll be back and I’m excited for that,” Kriebel said.


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