Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Fair Evening

 A fair evening was spent at the History Fair.

Every year we go through this, with many weeks devoted to putting together reports with the kids so they can give the reports to all of the other parents of kids in the school.

Remember those trifold boards?  Yes, they are still made.  And they have to be covered with pictures and fact sheets, and the report, in it's cover, neatly nestled among all of the other pieces of paraphernalia you bring to help you demonstrate your points or illustrate your subject.

So i got to spend the evening hearing about several aspects of history, local, national, and international.

Alcatraz and its hauntings.  How paper currency came to be.  Absolute monarchies.  The culture of China.  Piramids and Fort Knox, moon landings, civil wars, and the Kingfish. Twenty-five young people giving speeches on something, including one young lady who talked about a famous Cajun musician and fiddle maker who just happened to be her great-grandfather.  Yes, she had one of his fiddles there.

Little Girl had done 3 months of research on alchemy and its relationship to chemistry, among other things.  It is amazing how things haven't changed much.  They searched for a panacea and elixirs of life and the ability to transmute common metals into precious ones.  All these years later we, as a culture, still want to do whatever we want to our bodies and ask the doctor for the pill to make us all better, and we want to win the lottery and be rich for the rest of our lives without having to work for it.  The more things change, right?

#2 Son talked about the Vatican, and how it grew from one building into the huge complex it is today, tracing the many architects and artists who work on its development.  If you love art and architectural history, it's a fascinating thing.

Altogether an interesting and educational evening, and the kids are so glad it's over.  They did well, all 25 of them.

Today is:

A Colonial Christmas -- Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, VA, US (through Dec. 31; enjoy 17th- and 18th-century Christmas traditions, comparing those of England and the Colonies)

Barbes Diena -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (celebrates the fertility of sheep)

Becky Thatcher Day -- birthday of Laura Hawkins, in 1836, who inspired the character in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day -- if you can't see, feel free! sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Caldwell Country Christmas Parade & Fireworks -- Colombia, LA, US

Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tours -- Cape May, NJ, US (tours of homes, b&bs, guesthouses, hotels, and churches for 3 consecutive Saturdays)

Carnival of Celendonia -- Fairy Calendar (Celendonia is the Fairy City all Fairies want to retire to, by the way.)

Chester Greenwood Day Parade and Celebration/Ear Muff Day -- Farmington, ME, US (celebration of Farmington's most famous resident, the inventor of the ear muff!)

Chia Pet Hunting Season begins

Christmas Candlelightings -- Coshocton, OH, US (Roscoe Village opens for Christmas fun for 3 consecutive Saturdays)

Christmas in Old Appalachia -- Clinton, TN, US (an old fashioned country Christmas; through Christmas Eve)

Christmas New Orleans Style -- New Orleans, LA, US (a full month of Christmas celebrations as only NOLA can do it)

Christmas on the Prairie -- Wahoo, NE, US (Christmas 1800s prairie style; through tomorrow)

Civil Air Patrol Day -- US, date of establishment in 1941

ClauWau: Santa Claus World Championship -- Samnaun, Switzerland (Santa Claus aspirants compete in in such things as the chimney climb with toys, a geography bee, and the sledge race with timed gift giving to be crowned the world champion Santa)

Coats and Toys for Kids Day -- ME, US (charity drive across the state; even if you aren't in that state, there is probably a charity near you that would love to have your help)

Cookie Cutter Week begins -- sponsored by the Cookie Cutter Collectors Club

Crossing of the Cattle at Diafarabe -- Mali (celebrated through the month)

Damrong Rajanubhab Day -- Thailand (anniversary of the prince's death)

Day of the First President -- Kazakhstan

Dia de la Abolicion del Ejercito -- Costa Rica (Military Abolition Day; yes, really, they abolished the military after the 1948 revolution, are one of Central America's oldest democracies, and has only the Police Guard forces)

Dickens on the Strand -- Galveston, TX, US (a Victorian Christmas presented by the Galveston Historical Foundation; through tomorrow)

Eat A Red Apple Day

Freedom and Democracy Day -- Chad

Fullveldisdagurinn Islendinga -- Iceland (Self-governance Day)

Holiday Happiness -- Upper Arlington, OH, US (Christmas fun for the family at the local public library)

International Sahara Festival -- Douz, Tunisia (camel racing, music and merrymaking)

International Prisoners for Peace Day -- a day to remember imprisoned conscientious objectors

Kalends of December -- Ancient Roman Calendar; also observed
     Festival for Neptune -- promiscuous god of the sea
     Festival for Pietas -- goddess of devotion, duty, and honor

Lantern Light Tours begin -- Mystic Seaport, CT, US (walking tour of performances showing Christmas past, on various dates through the month)

Mindfulness Day -- Zen Buddhism (a day to mindfully see and act with compassion toward the poor and oppressed)

My Husband's Strung the Christmas Lights and Now I Can't Open the Garage Door Day -- commemorating an alleged real event, be glad this isn't your husband

Natchitoches Christmas Festival -- Natchitoches, LA, US (the biggest day in the Festival of Lights in Natchitoches, parade day and the first fireworks of the season)

National Pie Day

National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month -- sponsored by Parenting Without Pressure

National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day -- American Public Transportation Association, on the anniversary of her arrest

Norskedalen's Old-Fashioned Christmas -- Coon Valley, WI, US (log home Christmas and fun for all; through tomorrow)

Operation Santa Paws -- toy/treat/care drive to help local animal shelters, until the 21st; sponsored by Haute Dogs

Presidential Inauguration Day -- Mexico

Proclamation of the Republic -- Central African Republic

Restoration of Independence -- Portugal

Shaker Christmas Fair -- Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, New Gloucester, ME, US (traditional holiday church fair)

St. Eligius' Day (Patron of agricultural workers/farmers, blacksmiths/ horseshoe makers, boilermakers, cab drivers/taxi drivers, carriage makers, cartwrights, clock makers/watch makers, coin collectors/neumismatists, craftsmen, cutlers, farriers, garage workers and gas station workers -- because most of us don't use horses any more, gilders, goldsmiths, harness makers, horses/sick horses, jewelers, jockeys, knife makers, laborers, locksmiths, metal collectors/precious metal collectors, metalsmiths, miners, minters, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, saddle makers, tool makers, veterinarians, wheelwrights)

Tamale Festival -- El Centro, CA, US (tamales and arts and crafts, a fun way to holiday shop)

Teachers' Day -- Panama

Territorial Christmas Celebrations -- Guthrie, OK, US (old time fun this weekend and later in the month)

World AIDS Day -- WHO; related observance
     Day With(OUT) Art -- annual observance of the impact of AIDS on the visual arts, sponsored by Visual AIDS

Ziua Unirii -- Romania (National Day)

Anniversaries Today

Napoleon weds Josephine, 1804
Yukon Order of Pioneers founded, 1894

Birthdays Today:

Bette Midler, 1945
John Densmore, 1944
Richard Pryor, 1940
Lee Trevino, 1939
Woody Allen, 1935
Lou Rawls, 1933
David Doyle, 1925
Mary Martin, 1913
Charles Finney, 1905
Robert Welch, 1899
Cyril Ritchard, 1897
Rex Stout, 1886
Anna Maria Grosholtz Tussaud (Madame Tussaud), 1761
Oliver Wolcott, 1726
Louis VI of France, 1081

Today in History:

Henry V of England enters Paris, 1420
Pasha Muhammad ibn Farukh, governor, driven out of Jerusalem, 1626
Portugal regains independence from Spain, 1640
Massachusetts becomes first colony to give Statutory recognition to slavery, 1641
The first American school to offer manual training courses opens in Maryland, 1750
Charles and M.N. Roberts ascend 2,000' in a hydrogen balloon, 1783
Erie Canal closes for a month due to cold weather, 1831
Hans Christian Andersen publishes his first book of fairy tales, 1835
The first chartered mutual life insurance company opens, 1843
First appearance of Sherlock Holmes in print, in "Study in Scarlet", 1887
The first certified public accountants receive their certificates in New York, 1896
The first Western film, "The Great Train Robbery," released, 1903
The first Israeli kibbutz is founded, Deganya Alef, 1909
Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line, 1913
The first drive-up gasoline station opens in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 1913
Lady Nancy Astor is sworn in as the first female member of the British Parliament, 1919
The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgenson, the first notable case of sexual reassignment surgery, 1952
Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent, 1959
Malawi, Malta and Zambia join the United Nations, 1964
Lambda Theta Phi is established as the first Latino fraternity, in New Jersey, 1975
Angola joins the United Nations, 1976
The AIDS virus is officially recognized, 1981
At the University of Utah, Barney Clark becomes the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart, 1982
Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed, 1990


  1. Dear Mimi,
    I would love to go on the Channel Tunnel one day. Did you know that the drivers sit on the right in England but on the left in France? When it was being decided where the conductor of the Chunnel would sit, they landed on having him sit right in the middle. What a nice compromise!

  2. Kay, that is funny, and nice at the same time. Yes, i would love to cross the Channel Tunnel, too; every time i crossed, years ago, was on a ferry or boat.

  3. I'm a huge history enthusiast and would have loved to attend this fair.

  4. Stephen, it's nice to know the kids are learning these things, and they are entertaining and amusing, too.


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