Children's Day at the Arts Festival

I had never visited the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on children's day before, but circumstances (and a bus) put me downtown in the morning just as things kicked off. So I figured - why not go and see?

So I checked out the food booths, and the amusements, and the music. And the artists'  booths, of course - there were several blocks of booths where artists of very young ages sold their wares. Mostly crafty stuff, made by hand, sold on the cheap, for just a few dollars an item; a lot of very creative and colorful items, I might add.

On the 100 block of South Allen Street, there are always some fun water and mist features. There is a station where water flows into buckets mounted high above the street, and when the buckets fill, they tip and dump their contents onto anyone walking beneath. You can imagine how fun it would be on a hot summer day. (But put your camera DOWN before going through that one, as you'll get SOAKED.)

The photo above shows another cooling amusement: a little chamber of mist, surrounded by attractive landscaping, that you could walk through to get a little bit damp and cool yourself down. I stood there a while waiting for a fun shot of people walking through. I liked how this one turned out; it looked like the mother and her two children were disappearing into the light.

But there was a much more sobering work of art also waiting for me. Our downtown has several beautiful, colorful murals. And I turned around to see one I don't think I knew was even there. The mural covered the whole side of a building, and featured children in various poses. You may see it in the extras.

I spotted something odd about the mural, though, and so I walked up for a closer look to confirm what I thought I had seen. Yes, maybe you see it too. Look at the baby in the lower right-hand part of the mural. Someone (not the original artist) has drawn a CAGE around the baby. I saw the cage and I nearly wept.

I do not know whether the person who added the cage thought it was funny. (It wasn't, not at all.) Or maybe it was a statement protesting the separation of immigrant families at the borders. I truly hope it was the latter and so that is how I interpreted it for myself.

No, America, babies do NOT belong in cages. Not even if your racist, fascist government participates actively in the practice of kidnapping and jailing children for the sake of political extortion. No, not even then.

How wonderful it is to be a child in the United States. But I add this last part with a broken heart: only for SOME children.

There are two songs, one for the happy part of Children's Day at the fest, and one for the not so happy art. Here is Guns N' Roses, with Sweet Child O' Mine. And here is Pat Benatar, with Suffer the Little Children.

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