A fairytale festival at Isabella’s farm
BY SUMMER DESANTIS
To beat the heat, younger Long Island residents were invited to the Bellport Children’s Festival, hosted on the farm of actress Isabella Rossellini. Founded by Elizabeth Starkey, a children’s book author, the purpose of the event was to “see what stories feel like when they come alive,” she said. “I felt children had very little chance to see books outside the library and when summer comes it’s a very dry time for kids to read. This is a way for kids to see stories in a new light.” The immersive experience offered children interactive plays of classic fairytales, crafting stations and live animal encounters with owls, snakes and smaller creatures. The event was sponsored by more than a dozen local businesses. The interactive plays offered by the Gateway Playhouse were co-directed by one of its students, Thea Belle Flanzer, fostering a lifelong love for theatrics. “The idea that these students are performing for younger students out here in this really neat atmosphere, it’s really special,” said Gateway Acting School director Michael Baker. “It is fully immersive, it is creative, and it is inspiring.” The festival is held every year on Rossellini’s farm in Brookhaven hamlet.
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