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A Generous Buffet at TAFFY

Defying the weekend heat, the fourth annual Theatre Arts Festival for Youth (TAFFY) offered a generous and varied buffet of entertainment for young folks at Peter Strauss Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains on Saturday and Sunday.

Although a precise head count wasn’t available, TAFFY producers John and Pamela Wood--otherwise known as J. P. Nightingale--estimated that the crowd was marginally larger than last year’s, when about 3,600 attended.

Sixteen groups, including some of the best local children’s entertainers, performed on two stages. Although the bucolic location makes for a pleasant retreat, the stages are problematic. One has uncomfortable seating but good sight lines; the other has comfortable chairs on a flat surface that caused plenty of necks to crane as people attempted to see the action.

Some guidance on the age-appropriateness of each act would be a boon to parents. Once it was discovered that a given act wasn’t appropriate, it was usually too late to find a seat at the other arena.

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Still, even away from the two stages, there was plenty to do--Michael Mark’s Inflatable Art, bead stringing, gawking at the colorfully costumed “Taffy Town Players” who strolled the grounds. It’s unlikely that any of the kids who went to TAFFY were bored.


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