|The Boy Who Became King
by Connie Darago
Two years ago, 13-year-old John-Graham Green, of West River, was crowned king. Since then, he's played the role of young King James V for Scottish Weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
John-Graham gained his crown by chance.
He was scouted by a teacher visiting his home. Her husband, Scottish Weekend organizer Gray Davis, agreed he was right for the part, and the adventure began.
John, who admits his first love is baseball, had to put aside his ball, bat and glove to prepare for his royal role.
He practiced vocabulary, worked on his Scottish accent and even took fencing lessons from Davis to perfect his image.
But, noticeably, one thing was absent.
Costumes play a big part in the Renaissance Festival. They add beauty and reality to the theater, dance, feasting and jousting.
John needed a costume.
That's when John's mom, Christine, called upon family friend and seamstress Cindy Brown of Fairhaven.
"Cindy was really nervous and afraid she would not be able to make the costume," says Christine. "She wouldn't even tell us how much the materials cost until it was completed. But it turned out beautifully."
The elaborate, gold-trimmed, green velvet costume added the perfect final touch.
John could begin his reign.
"I like acting and improvising," says John. "There's no script, so you can have fun."
Last year that's just what he did, summoning his royal guards to arrest his uncle and put him on trial.
What does John have up his green velvet sleeves this year?
We'll have to be there and see; he's not telling.
John doesn't want to be an actor. He'll be putting his costume on the shelf and giving up his celebrity status after this performance. He'll retrieve his ball, bat and glove and return to "the thing he likes a lot": baseball.
comes to the Maryland Renaissance Festival
Sept. 16 & 17.
What is Marylands state sport?
1. Soccer 2. Jousting 3. Football
Human Chess, Anyone?
Chess, a game of skill, is at least 1,400 years old. By the end of the 10th century, it had captivated kings, philosophers and poets as it traveled through Europe.
The object of the game is to attack the enemy king so he cannot deflect, remove the attack or escape.
You can play chess with chessmen. Or you can play it with your friends. Either way, you will need a copy of basic chess rules.
To play with your friends, youll need a nice flat lawn or paved area. A tennis court would work. To make a board, youll need 64 squares, with 32 one color and 32 more another. Carpet squares work, or use sidewalk chalk on a paved area.
Youll also need cardboard tags for labeling the players and 32 kids.
Why Bats Are So Handy
Sat. Sept. 16 (8-9pm)-Enjoy campfire stories to learn why bats have gotten a bad rap plus how they affect our lives. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Port Republic. $3; members free; rsvp: 410/535-5327 www.calvertparks.org.
Wade into Wetlands
Sun. Sept. 17 (2-4pm)-Explore a stream and pond for frogs, turtles, fish, tadpoles, dragonflies and various aquatic insects. Gear and field guides provided; dress to get wet and muddy. Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Lothian. If youre under 13, bring an adult. rsvp: 410/741-9330.
Anne Arundel County Fair
Thru Sept. 17 (noon-10 Th; 4-10pm F; 9am-10pm Sa; 9-8 Su)-Dig down-home country fun at the 48th Annual Anne Arundel County Fair. Find carnival rides & games, pie & watermelon eating contests, a petting zoo, tractor pulls, hog calling contests, turtle races, draft horse pulls and more. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville. $4 w/discounts ThF; $5 w/discounts SaSu: 410/923-3400 www.aacountyfair.org.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Thru Oct. 22 (10:30-7 SaSu)-Discover how people partied in the olden days at the 24th Annual Maryland Renaissance Festival. Old England fun includes stage & street performers, full-contact armoured jousting, games, animal rides and more. The Scottish Celebration runs Sept. 16 & 17. Rain or shine. No pets or costume weapons. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville. $14.95; $13/seniors; $5.95/kids 7-15; 6 & under free: 800/296-7304