Sunday, November 8, 2009

Festival fun

For more than a decade, beginning in 1997, I spent the first weekend in November at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s booth at the Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs. It was great fun being part of the Lab team of staff, students and volunteers sharing the wonder of live coastal animals and helping youngsters mix art and science.

Retirement has personalized my focus. My husband Walter and I scoped out the booths early Saturday. Our plan was to meet our oldest son Walt and our daughter-in-law Sarah then take our four grandchildren home with us. We could enjoy a few hours of energetic grandparenting and give mom and dad some time sans kids for immersing themselves in the Peter Anderson art smorgasbord and contributing to the Ocean Springs economy.

A balloon, music and crowds entertained youngest granddaughter, 17-month-old Stella, above, while we waited in the shade for her siblings to select hand-crafted toys from a vendor on Government Street.

Her sister, 3-year-old Charlie, concentrated on watercoloring at the Gulf Coast Research Lab booth. After a hike to connect with our transportation, four tired and two re-tired Skupiens rode home.

Our other granddaughter, 20-month-old Molly Kate, arrived later that afternoon with her parents, Jeremy and Katie. No photos of our two seven- and five-year-old grandsons. They were too elusive, busy stalking various villains with their new bow and arrows and crossbow purchased at the festival. Walter and I closed out our Peter Anderson weekend with a late Sunday afternoon foray among the booths to purchase Louisiana satsumas and a piece of pottery by Beth Sartin, a Brandon, MS, artist.

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