Not that Lennoxville’s a slouch in the fun department, but Brother Cadfael’s street fest is a bit more… eventful

Street festivals are so much fun. Can’t make Saturday’s Queen Street fiesta? Hanging out with Brother Cadfael at a medieval fete is the next best thing.

 

The Benedictine has been a monk for 16 years, but at 51 is old enough to have had a past. A past filled with warring and other not-currently-appropriate-for-a-man-of-the-cloth activities. It’s suggested, in fact, that Cadfael has had enough fun to make chastity perfectly acceptable in middle age.  But there’s still lots of earthy events that get Cadfael’s attention. The delightful hullaballoo of an annual street fair, for example, where the good monk gets out of abbey duties in order to operate as a translator for a Welshman in England.

 

Wandering tradesmen, after all, pay for a booth and so deserve proper attention from the monks who garner the fees from the festival.

 

Wander through the exhibits with Cadfael  during Saint Peter’s Fair (2011). Wine, gowns, jerkins, ale, gold, jewellery… it’s just like wandering along Queen Street this Saturday, where more than 100 artisans and local businesspeople will display their many and varied wares!

 

St. Peter’s Fair, however, takes place in the summer of the year 1139, in Shrewsbury, as a civil war over the right to rule the country has receded, briefly, into a battle of wits, spies, and fealty assignations (are you for Empress Maud, or King Stephen?). “There were some fears this disturbed state of things could ruin the fair even this year, but it seems trade keeps on the move while barons skulk in their castles. The prospects are excellent after all.”

 

Still, a prosperous tradesman, Thomas of Bristol, is found dead.

 

Cadfael decides to find the killer.

 

If you’re unfamiliar with Cadfael, though, start at the beginning, instead of with this tome, the fourth in a series of 20. Author Ellis Peters (the late Edith Pargeter) allows her characters room to manoeuvre, so it’s much more fun to watch the relationship mature between Cadfael and the suspicious Deputy Sheriff Hugh Beringar….

 

This fourth annual Lennoxville street fair (held between 10 am and 3 pm, between College and Academy) promises a family-friendly atmosphere and lots of food, artworks, music and more. For the kids, there’s a treasure hunt, face-painting, and inflatable toys to jump about in.

 

And there’ll likely be fashion for all ages, too! Clothing and accessories are insights into our very souls. Plaid, T-shirts, ties or jeans, sloppy or well-kempt – our choices tell the world how we want to be perceived. Fashion doesn’t have to be expensive, it’s just how we wear ourselves.

 

Toronto-based journalist Jeanne Beker has a great attitude about fashion, and it shines through in Passion For Fashion: Careers In Style (2008). Young people, especially, are often trying to find themselves – in rebellion or in a cultural uniform, whether it be preppie or Goth, in expensive new wear or second-hand chic, in home-made pants and colourful scarves. Beker glories in all of it, and offers teens and young adults a thorough grounding in the hard work and options available to those with a particular interest in the fashion world. Designers are just the beginning (Isaac Mizrahi “made costumes for his puppets” as a youngster, while Anna Sui created Barbie clothes out of Kleenex).

 

But the fashion world also needs seamstresses (that’s not a gendered job title!), stylists, agents, bookers, photographers and buzz creators. Models have a particularly hard time, however – men make almost nothing, while women, especially, are regularly targeted by slimeballs offering cheap photos and other creepy scams. (Does the offer sound too good to be true? Well duh.) (Interestingly, some models only sell parts of their bodies for photoshoots – like their perfect hands, or tantalizing toes.…)

 

And of course, to return to the street fair, and to Queen Street – fashion would not exist without retail shops, whether they be factory outlets or hip boutiques or second-hand diamonds like Boutique Encore (run by the Lennoxville Women’s Centre). Display managers, buyers… they all help bring fashion to the folks who’ll be happily exploring the displays along our borough’s main drag on Saturday.

 

Not that a street fair is just about money money money. As St. Peter’s Fair makes clear, tradesfolk and browsers come together to create community. And if you’re the type who loves to wander, Saturday’s a perfect day to people watch and to rediscover the lovely architecture in Lennoxville.

 

Lennoxville Sketchbook, (1990), by the late Kay Kinsman, is a witty and beautiful collection of Lennoxville-iana. And if Kinsman’s portraits of local people and hotspots leave you wanting more, pop by Uplands for a heritage walking tour map. Spend a few loonies and get an mp3 player, too, for even more detail about the lovely old homes of Lennoxville.

 

–          Eleanor Brown, August 23, 2013

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About BiblioLennLibrary

The Lennoxville Library, in Quebec's Eastern Townships, offers free memberships to all residents of Sherbrooke. We have a great selection of books in French and English, plus books on tape and CD, too! Check out our large-print section, our graphic novels... La Biblio Lennoxville se situe dans les Cantons-de-l'Est du Quebec. Les residents de Sherbrooke peuvent devenir membre gratuitement. Nous avons une grande selection de livres en francais et en anglais. Venez donc nous voir! Hours/Heures d'ouverture: Mardi-Tuesday, 10am to 5pm -- 10h a 17h Mercredi et Jeudi -Wednesday and Thursday, 10am to 6pm -- 10h a 18h Vendredi-Friday, 10am to 5pm -- 10h a 17h Samedi-Saturday, 11am to 4pm -- 11h a 16h Pour plus d'info, vous pouvez nous trouver au http://www.bibliolennoxvillelibrary.ca/ Click on the above to get to our website!
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