The Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire is an event not to be missed and is one that my family has looked forward to every year since we discovered it three years ago. Over time, we have learned a few tips and tricks to make the day more enjoyable and relaxing, especially with young children.
1. Arrive Early to the Holiday Faire
Parking is available in the school lot and next door at the antique barn, which is a 5-minute walk to the Faire entrance. A shuttle to and from the school is also available.
By afternoon, the lots will be quite full. If you have restless small children who will need an afternoon nap, try to arrive close to when the Faire opens at 10 am.
2. Plan your time at the Holiday Faire
There are so many things to see and do! If you plan to make your own beeswax candles, then start with this craft (more on this later).
The puppet show is delightful for adults and absolutely mesmerizing for the little ones. Scope out the show time you’d like upon your arrival so you can manage your shopping and craft-making around it.
If you have never participated in a drum circle, now is a great time to try it. Simply sit and join in when a seat is vacated. There are also performances by the Ladies of the Rolling Pin and carolers that add to the festivities of the day; if you can catch them, it’s well worth it.
3. Spend the entire day at the Holiday Faire
It’s not that you can’t just pop in for an hour or two, but you won’t be able to experience all the Holiday Faire has to offer in a short amount of time. Some crafts are time-consuming (See Candle Dipping) and the general vibe is one that invites taking it all in without having to worry about racing out early. Three hours would probably cover it, though we personally make a whole day of it.
4. Get Around the Holiday Faire Easily with Baby
I highly recommend leaving the stroller in the car and carrying a small baby or toddler in a comfortable carrier. The hallways can get crowded at times, and the store has narrow aisles. Tuck a diaper and wipes in your bag or pocket to save a trip back to the car. There is one bathroom equipped with a changing table near the children’s crafts room.
5. Plan to start your beeswax candle dipping first.
If you plan to make your own hand-dipped beeswax candle, you may want to start that as soon as you arrive so that you can work on it throughout the day. This craft requires adding layers of wax and then waiting for each layer to cool before dipping again. Depending on the size candle you are aiming for (candles are paid for by weight), the process could take anywhere from 2 hours to all day. This is a great activity, as you’ll get to enjoy the candle with each dinner over the winter months.
6. Visit the Crystal Cave (Formerly known as the Gnome Cave)
Be sure to visit the Crystal Cave either right before or immediately after you begin the candle dipping craft. It is truly magical and not to be missed. The Crystal Cave often has long lines, particularly when the puppet show is over.
7. Make Time for Crafts
There are several crafts available for a range of skill levels. Most are suitable for young children. If you carved out the whole day, you’ll be able to get creative in the crafting rooms at a gentle pace. If you only have a little time, scope out the craft options and pick the one or two that most appeal to you.
8. Shop at the Holiday Faire Store
My best tip for visiting the beautiful school store on Sunday is to bring another adult. When it’s time to sit down and rest and give your smallest Faire enthusiasts a snack, one person can stay with them while the other sneaks away to the centrally-located market for a bit of shopping. Of course, if you want to do some Holiday shopping without the children at all then I highly recommend going the night before to the adults only Holiday Faire event where you could enter to win a $25 gift certificate to spend at the store.
Don’t miss the used book room for lots of great reads at an even greater bargain.
9. Enjoy the Playroom
New this year is the playroom, which will offer the chance for your little ones to interact in a preschool/kindergarten or Early Childhood classroom. If you are interested in seeing what a typical day in the preschool or kindergarten program looks like and would like to speak with a staff member who can answer your questions about Waldorf education, inquire about the playroom when you arrive.
10. Peek into the Practical Arts
Handwork is an essential element of a Waldorf education, and the practical art teachers will display a bit of what they do in one of the classrooms. Handwork is done in the classroom in a quiet and peaceful environment, and so it follows that this is often a quiet activity. We happened into this room unexpectedly last year and it was an welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Faire. While our son and niece happily weaved on a natural loom made of tree branches, we enjoyed a pleasant conversation with the lovely handwork teacher.
Finally, just take it all in.
If you have never visited a Waldorf school before, be sure to spend some time enjoying the play areas outside. You’ll find gardens, climbing equipment, and rope swings, as well as many obstacles and forts that the children have built during their school days.
The essence of the school is evident from the moment you arrive. Every element is purposely chosen and intended to surround the children with beauty. The entire Faire is created and held by the parents working together. It is a testament to the sense of community that is built within the school. If you pay attention, you’ll feel the love that permeates every nuance of the school and the Faire. It is a magical event, not just for the children, but for everyone who comes and enjoys this special welcoming of the Holiday Season.
Have a wonderful time at Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire!
Come join in the festivities at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire. Saturday, November 23rd from 6-9 PM (Adults’ Night)
Sunday, November 24th from 10-4 (Family Day)