Once Upon A Time...

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a Kingdom hidden deep within a lush valley where a fire breathing dragon turned the very rock to molten steel. It was here, at the centre of the dragon's lair, that the clans would gather each year at the changing of the season when the leaves streamed red and gold from the trees, and the breeze scattered their richness across the land.

This magical valley was called The Kingdom of Ironfest.

That was the setting for a magical weekend of storytelling with fellow storytellers, Jill Webster and Kiran Shah. The four of us were representing the Australian Storytelling Guild, Nsw, at Ironfest's inaugural Kids Kingdom and the festival's theme this year Once Upon A time was the perfect place for storytelling. And of course, the Guild of Storytellers fitted in perfectly with the other guilds present such as the blacksmiths.

Kids Kingdom was wisely situated well away from the cannon fire and artillery but it did mean that families had to run the gauntlet of all the other activities and sights before finding the Kids Kingdom Tent and storytelling. Saturday morning was a little quiet with small but appreciative audiences. On Sunday morning, Jill donned her incredible magical forest goddess stilt walking costume and roamed the festival ushering families our way. So while Jill was on her stilts, Kiran, Ulf and I were kept on our toes as we had a steady stream of families pouring through the tent.

I always love a festival and especially one that encourages dressing up, not that I need encouragement, indeed and excuse to dress up is my motto. And the costumes at Iron Fest are fantastical!!! Inside the Iron Fest pavilion there was a Stargate and from this time traveling portal streamed Steam punks, Knights, Roman Legionaries, Spartans, Celts, Stormtroopers, Soldiers, Marines, Light Horse Cavalry, aliens, fairies, witches, mermaids, darleks and dragons. The whole festival was an absolute feast for photographers and pure magic for kids aged 2 to 102. But I have to say as much as I love to dress us, Jill Webster takes dressing up to a whole new level, literally!

Lindy Mitchell-Nilsson