Having a ball at city’s Fall Jubilee

While children with cat muzzles and whiskers painted on their faces ran through the streets of Manassas on Saturday during the annual Fall Jubilee, adults danced to live music beneath the pavilion or browsed at the street festival.

Brandi Ensor, Amanda Ward and Brittany Johnson wandered among the white tents where 100 or so vendors hawked their wares of pop guns, decorative thermometers and primitive art, painted in acrylic, on garden tools and cooking utensils.

The girls said they had fun at the jubilee.

“I come every year. I love it,” said Brandi, a 13-year-old Stonewall Middle School student.

Amanda said this year’s festival was the first she had attended in Virginia.

“I just moved here from Nebraska last year. I’ve never been to something like this,” said Amanda, also of Stonewall Middle School.

She said they have fairs in Nebraska, but the Midwestern ones don’t offer as much variety.

“It’s really interesting, everybody’s really friendly and it seems like everybody is having a good time, but those little gun things are starting to annoy me,” the 13-year-old said.

Amanda was referring to the ubiquitous noise made by pop guns several vendors were selling.

The toy guns were built of a plastic tube with a snug plunger inside. Stoppers were attached with string to the end of the plungers.

To operate the guns, children pulled the plunger to the rear, which sealed the stopper against the end of the plastic tube.

To fire the gun, they quickly shoved the plunger forward. The resulting air pressure forced the stopper from the tube and created a liquid plopping noise.

A kid with some firing proficiency could easily fire once every second. Dozens of kids played with the guns.

Before Brandi got the chance to wander the streets and spend her allowance, she performed at the festival with a group from Sudley Arts and Dance.

She said her instructors altered the dance routine for an outdoor performance and the last minute change threw her off.

The teachers reworked the choreography to spare the costumes, Brandi said.

“We had to perform on the pavement. I was scared. I messed up a couple of times,” Brandi said.

She said the audience was appreciative anyway.

Brittany was visiting her friend Brandi, but often attends the jubilee. She once attended Stonewall Middle School, but moved to Dumfries.

“I like all of the little things they have out and the food is really good,” said the 13-year-old Graham Park Middle School student.

Amanda and Brandi said they expended their weekly allowance on food and trinkets at the jubilee.

Brittany said she holding on to her money.

“I used my parent’s money,” she said.

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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