Just down the way, youngsters carefully crafted beeswax candles, peasant dolls, Robin Hood hats and Maid Marian flower garlands. Over on the Village Green, knights in armor, sword fighting, archery, catapult firing and a life-size chess game kept the crowd captivated. With Celtic music and actors performing Shakespeare’s work, the Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival on Sunday lived and breathed its Middle Ages theme.
“I have been dying to come here for the last three years, but we have always had a family event to attend,” said resident Arlene Colon, who came to the festival with her husband and two kids. “I am amazed at all of the great events that they have here today and how everything caters to all ages and the whole family.”
Along with bringing the Middle Ages to life, the 4th annual Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival brought books to life by showcasing several well-known authors. They included Molly Ringwald, Jim Abbott, Marcia Clark, David Shannon, T. Jefferson Parker, Steven Raichlen, Zov Karamardian, J.H. Everett, Marilyn Scott-Waters, Lauren Kate, Josephine Angelini, Tahereh Mafi, Rachel Cohn, Jeri Westerson, Anna Carey and Alexandra Monir.
Inside the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, fans flocked to see actress Molly Ringwald at noon. Often called “the greatest teen star of all time,” Ringwald spoke about her career and latest book “When It Happens to You.” The book is a collection of linked stories that follow a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors as they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life. Many remember the star for her “iconic” ’80s movie roles in “16 Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Pretty in Pink.” Ringwald, who still resembles those youthful roles, fielded questions from the audience. When asked by a 9-year-old girl how she became an actress, Ringwald said she did a lot of community theater and landed her first role as “Annie” at the age of 10. “Stay in school … is my best advice for being successful,” Ringwald told the youngster.
Later in the day, Jim Abbott inspired people with his autobiography “Imperfect: An Improbable Life.” The former Major League Baseball pitcher was born without a right hand. He spoke about the challenges he faced on and off the field and motivated people to find something they love and go after it with vigor.
A few hours later, Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case, engaged folks with tales of her life and from her “Guilt by Degrees” mystery.
On this warm day, there were captivating stories – and even cooking demonstrations. Internationally bestselling food writer and PBS TV host Steven Raichlen tempted the taste buds of many grilling up Caveman T-bones, Argentinean beef ribs, corn and sweet potatoes. Orange County chef Zov Karamardian’s creamy butternut squash soup and traditional Greek salad demonstrated why her restaurants are such a hit.
The Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival, sponsored by the Friends of the Mission Viejo Library, catered to people of all ages and transformed the pristine Oso Viejo Park into a time long ago.
Mayor Frank Ury said the festival is great fun for the community but it’s educational, too. “With all of the challenges parents have today to get their kids off of social media and into reading, this is a place that they can go to experience reading and stories from all over the world,” he said.