Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pedlars on parade

For Education Week 2007, our school hosted a Pedlar's Fair, and it was wildly successful. It had been several years since we'd had one; it had been an annual event for a while there, but was an idea we "rested" more recently. This year, we raised lots of money for the school's coffers. Many parents, caregivers and friends turned up for the day's events, and the students performed and behaved magnificently.

The junior school dressed as pedlars and carried thematic trays of wares: homemade foodstuffs, small glittery or feathery trinkets, bookmarks, pet rocks; whatever you can think of, it was there! The older students had formed small groups to run various competition stalls and fete-like entertainments. Groups of parents ran the multicultural food stall and the tea/coffee.

Everyone participated by buying Pedlar's Pennies as the day's currency. Not having my own class to muster, it was my job to sell the extra pennies, wearing my hand-me-down red velour cape and my "$2 Shop" jester's cap. (More about the cape later.) We expected to only be selling pennies for the first hour today (the students had been paying for pennies all week), but the adults were really getting into the spirit and I sold my last pennies just before lunch, as things were winding down.

At the end, several stalls had guessing competition winners to announce. I was soooo close to winning a huge jar of how-many-jelly-beans-in-the-jar. But I came third, and received probably the most bizarre prize of the day: "Noise Putty", which comes in its own little plastic toilet. Push in the putty and it farts! Well, library lessons might be interesting next week...

Oh, about the cape: it was given to me by a fellow Star Trek fan before he emigrated to England, so many years ago now. It's a most handsome cape. My friend once tried to hire this cape (as the finishing touch to a Star Trek costume for a convention) from the then-Orange People, aka the sannyasin sect, at their inner city facility. But the Orange People, being so loving and trusting of the entire world and its inhabitants, refused to charge him a hiring fee or even a deposit. Although he fully intended to return the cape after what ended up being a longer term loan than expected, the sect suddenly reinvented themselves, and vanished from their old location... to Byron Bay, I assume? As the renamed Rainbow People, they were attempting to disassociate themselves from some embarrassing exposés about the sect's organisers, but eventually they were back being Orange People. Seemingly disbanded, the Orange People of Sydney were no more, and the cape had nowhere to be returned to. It eventually passed to me.

It's certainly brought a lot of pleasure to a lot of people as the finishing touch to a plethora of science fictiony costumes over the years. The sannyasins would be pleased, I hope, but I carry a certain amount of guilt when I think of the original terms of the, ah, loan.


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