The Institute in Waynesboro sets Youth Festival on May 21

WAYNESBORO, PA — The Institute’s 34th annual Youth Festival is on Sunday, May 21, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Pine Hill Recreation Area in Waynesboro, Pa. The event is free and open to the public; donations appreciated.

An outdoor event geared for kids of all ages, Youth Fest features a variety of activities, demonstrations, exhibits, and entertainment throughout the day, plus a professional guest performer.

“Kids will enjoy interactive experiences that are fun and educational,” said Jessica Watson, the Institute’s assistant director. “It’s important for kids to get outside for healthy activities and fun, and Youth Fest is geared toward outdoors play.”

The featured guest entertainment is Silly Goose & Val at 2 p.m. Valerie Leonhart Smalkin and puppet, Silly Goose provide an entertaining and fun program with “sing-a-long, dance-along, and laugh-along songs.”  

A ventriloquist, musician, composer, and performer, Smalkin was one of the writers, performers, and co-producers—as well as the head puppeteer—of the Emmy award winning television program, “It’s Kindertime.”

Smalkin also created several award-winning musical CDs for children, and her book, Springtime Dance won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award in 2014. A recipient of Maryland State Arts Council grants for solo non-classical performance and for solo theater performance, Smalkin continues to compose music to delight kids, performing at family and educational events across the mid-Atlantic region, in California and in Europe.

Smalkin will conduct a free puppet workshop during Youth Fest. Space is limited and registration is required. Register in advance via email at: [email protected].

At 4 p.m., Waynesboro Children’s Theater Troupe will perform a special summer musical presentation. 

The Institute will lead a StoryWalk® and craft. Other activities for kids are provided by: First Start Partnership, Waynesboro Area School District, Blue Ridge Summit Library, Eyler’s Pelts and Critters, Waynesboro Area YMCA, Waynesboro Ceramic Center, Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue, and Alexander Hamilton Memorial Library. 

The Cupcake Gypsy food truck will be on site, selling goodies.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact The Institute at (717) 762-0373 or email to: [email protected]. More details at

Youth Festival is underwritten in part by lead sponsor, Patriot Federal Credit Union, and by contributions to the Today’s Horizon Fund by The Nora Roberts Foundation; Marge Kiersz; and The Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support courtesy of Washington Township. 

Rain location is Waynesboro Area Middle School.

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