KILLINGTON — Behind the Sherburne Memorial Library, a little girl in a pink dress and garlands and another in a black dress with bat wings whacked each other with foam swords.
Elsewhere on the grounds, children pretended to row a Viking longship, ran in circles around and through a castle gate, and made their parents into knights in shining armor by wrapping them in aluminum foil. Baba Yaga, the cannibal hag of Russian myth — though actually Barb Paquette, of Poultney — patrolled the grounds alongside Raeney Paquette, of Poultney, clad in a cardboard “hut” and chicken-leg tights.
It was the library’s second semi-annual Vermont Fairy Tale Festival on Saturday, and families from around the area ate, played and listened to music and stories.
“The idea started in 2015,” festival coordinator Jane Ramos said from a seat in the shade. “We librarians like to workshop and conference and do all sorts of things together. We figured it was past time to show the public how we do that. ... What we do best is work with children and families.”
Ramos said they spent two years organizing the first festival, which took place on a sweltering hot day in 2017.
“That year we had about 20 librarians, a handful of vendors and local food,” she said. “We ended up with 600 families.”
That was enough of a success to do it again, she said, but organizers didn’t want to do it again the very next year. A particular hit at the first event was a troupe of Viking re-enactors, and Ramos said they decided to alternate years, giving the festival over to the Vikings for 2018 and bringing back the fairy tale festival — with, but not dominated by, Vikings — this year.
There was no admission fee, but organizers did ask for donations of non-perishable food items.
“We don’t want any kid to not come because their family can’t afford to get in,” she said.
Area libraries ran booths with stories and games, while vendors sold children’s dresses, ceramics, crystals and jewelry.
“We’ve got Mother Goose here, we’ve got Willy Wonka,” Ramos said. “State Librarian Jason Broughton is our king and he’s knighting kids. There’s going to be a thing this afternoon where the vikings kidnap a princess.”
Six-year-old Griffin Lebrun, of Plymouth, said he particularly loved participating in a giant Candyland game.
“Somebody spun a wheel and then whatever color it is, you go to that color,” he said while battling a bowl of ice cream. “I played with friends. We got to take turns.”
Violette Randolph, 9, of Pittsfield, said she saw Snow While and Rose Red, but what really impressed her was a booth dedicated to the Princess and the Frog.
“You got a Hershey Kiss, a stamp and a sticker,” she declared.