Bellefonte is usually known for its Victorian-era architecture, but the Elizabethans took over Sunday at Talleyrand Park.
About 100 people came through for three hours of Shakespeare-themed activities throughout the afternoon for the fourth annual “Bard In Bellefonte.” The event is designed to teach William Shakespeare’s work in a fun way to let adults and children alike let their hair down and enjoy themselves.
“It’s OK to be foolish,” event organizer Cynthia Mazzant said. “It’s OK to laugh at yourself.”
Several actors and some spectators donned classic 16th century garb, really getting into the Shakespearean spirit.
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For Mike Waldhier, it was a chance to get back to his roots.
Waldhier, of State College, has been acting as a hobby for many years. Starting in Chicago, many of his early plays were Shakespeare’s works.
He said, as an actor, his two goals are to challenge himself and have fun. Though Sunday’s afternoon in the park wasn’t as much of a challenge, he enjoyed interacting with the audience and performing.
And he hopes they had fun, too.
“As long as there is one person having a good time that’s all that really matters,” Waldhier said.
The crowd was a little smaller than some of the previous years, but that allowed for a more intimate feel and more audience participation, Mazzant said. She said she was happy with the turnout and encouraged others to organize events to engage the community.
One family made the trip from Tyrone for a sunny afternoon of culture.
Kim Capenos brought her kids to Bellefonte because she wanted to introduce them to Shakespeare at an early age. They are still in elementary school, but she expects “Romeo and Juliet” won’t be too far off in their schooling.
She thought the participatory nature of the day allowed the kids to get more involved and hoped some of the educational lessons set in.
“Kids learn better when they are involved in the process,” she said.
Capenos has no real background in Shakespeare, but said she enjoyed the day, especially relishing the opportunity to take the microphone and exclaim a Shakespearan insult to everyone in attendance.
The sponsor of “Bard In Bellefonte“ is Tempest Productions, a nonprofit theater company designed to show classical and universal themes.