Peterborough’s celebration of community – Children and the Arts

  • Kids soak up the festivities during the 2016 Children and the Arts Day in Peterborough. This year’s event, which is celebrating its 25th year, will be this Saturday. PHOTO BY Madelynne Moynihan

Friday, May 11, 2018 3:42PM

May conjures up images of daffodils and tulips, apple blossoms and graduations. It also indicates it is time for the screens to get back in the windows (black flies), bird feeders to be put away (bears), and the rototillers to be put to work. And for our community, it means the Children and the Arts festival.

The festival began in 1993 – this year celebrates 25 years of festival fun. The mission of the festival “is to offer a free arts festival to celebrate art made by, for, and with our children.” Many of us remember those first couple of years. My girls attended Dublin Consolidated School and we participated in the giant puppet workshops. The Nelson family created a giant purple octopus. With Dave inside the octopus’s head, there were eight tentacles for our three daughters and five other friends. It was great fun for them to swirl and twirl the tentacles down Main Street with the crowd cheering and the band playing (and my husband trying to keep the head of the beast upright and pointed forward).

Afterwards, the question of what to do with a giant octopus was a very real issue in our household. You couldn’t possibly get rid of something that momentous, so it lived on our front porch for at least a year. Some of you may remember the giant purple creature with the big buggy white eyes peering over the porch window. It made a comeback for a Vacation Bible School at our church and then went to the Happy Place for Puppets Past. My only regret is that it could have made yet another comeback as Charlotte (as in Charlotte’s Web) for an area library. With a coat of black paint it would have made a great spider. Ah well. Life is filled with missed opportunities.

I love Children and the Arts. This year the theme is “A Pirate’s Life for Me.” As we fill the streets of Peterborough with dancers and bands, pirates and swash buckling adventurers, we are celebrating the core of our community. The children, the families, the people of our region all there to share their creativity, their joy of living. The festival reminds us we are all part of a larger family – the human family. We share this place we call home, the eastern Monadnock region. Young and old; new to the area or born and bred here; different educations and incomes; it doesn’t matter. We are here, celebrating our children, celebrating creative expression, celebrating each other.

The River Center Family and Community Resource Center is here to support our families, parents and children, and our community. In the summer, the Farm to Table program is a great opportunity for parents and children to explore local farms and foods together. We support families through our Safe Sitter class for young babysitters. The next class is at The Grapevine in Antrim on June 9. If you are interested in these or other programs at The River Center, visit our website at www.rivercenter.us or call 924-6800.

You know what I will be doing on Saturday. I’ll be at Children and the Arts festival 2018. I’ll be laughing and cheering on our children, glad that I live here. Glad that I am part of a community that celebrates our children in such a great way.



Margaret Nelson is executive director of The River Center Family and Community Resource Center in Peterborough.