As the weather gets warmer, Renaissance Fair season gets into full swing in Southern California. Resurgence in the popularity of medieval and Renaissance culture after World War II led to the creation of these interactive retro-historical gatherings. In 1963, a Los Angeles schoolteacher started the first modern Renaissance Fair a tradition that has been held annually every year since.
Gatherings typically include costumed entertainers, musical and theatrical acts, crafts and foods. Visitors are encouraged to come in costume and participate in fair activities ranging from eating legs of mutton to clasping hands in a giant chain dance. A good list of fairs around the country can be found at dragonmarsh.com.
Heres a round-up of local festivities:
The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire will open its 49th season on April 9 at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. The faire is a re-enactment of a 1580s market faire at Port Deptford, an imaginary waterfront town located in Elizabethan England.
Each weekend, more than 2,000 costumed performers appear and annually, nearly a quarter of a million people attend. Special exhibits include the King of Fling Jack Dagger showing off his knife-throwing skills, 14 stages of music, crafts, food, rides and a Kids Kingdom.
Themed weekends include Swashbuckler, Mothers Day, and a Fantasy and Elizabethan Costume Competition. The faire will conclude on May 22.
MORE INFORMATION: 626-969-4750 or renfair.com
The next chance for a pleasure fair experience nearby is the Escondido Renaissance Faire holds both a Spring Faire and a Fall Faire. The 2011 Spring Faire will be held at Felicita County Park April 2-3 and 9-10. Mingle with the inhabitants of the Elizabethan era village of Falconbridge as they celebrate the good life in the days of rule under Queen Bess.
Events include household games, battles, archery demonstrations, and a treasure hunt for children.
MORE INFORMATION: 805-496-6036 or goldcoastfestivals.com
The 14th annual Koroneburg Old World Festival will be held on weekends between May 7 -June 19, 2011 at Crossroads Riverview Park. The park is the only permanent renaissance village in Southern California. The site is styled to resemble a European Village in the 16th century and the setting is the fictitious estate of Baron Heinrich Von Lauffer along the Rhine River (in this case the Santa Ana River).
Entertainment includes plays, music, dancing, comedy, juggling, wandering minstrels, horse shows and archery competitions. Themed weekends bring special memories to life including Robin Hood between May 14 15 and Pirates between May 21- 22.
MORE INFORMATION: 800-320-4736 or koroneburg.com
The 22nd Annual Buccaneers Day will be held Oct. 1 in Two Harbors. Don your best pirate attire and get ready for a day filled with treasure hunts, costume contests, food, live music and fun. Boats are decked with pirate flags as cannon blasts fill the air.
MORE INFORMATION: 310-510-4249 or visitcatalinaisland.com
The 18th Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival will take place Oct. 7- 9, 2011 at Sunset Park. More than 50 shows daily are performed across the festival grounds including historical re-enactments, jousting tournaments, medieval pageantry and over 100 artisans. A royal parade with kings, queens, warriors and peasants will be held on Sat. and Sun.
The Boars Head Feaste, an interactive dinner theater performance, features serving wenches, tavern knaves, and a six-course meal.
MORE INFORMATION: 702-455-0000 or lvrenfair.com
On hiatus for 2011 are the Big Bear City Renaissance Faire, the Ojai Renaissance and Pirate Faire, and The Grand Canyon Renaissance Faire and Mountain Music Festival.
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