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First Person Experience: Renaissance is a ‘faire’ treat

Amanda Nieto
Associate News Editor

I am sure there is a time in every person’s life when they wonder what it would be like to live in a different time period.

Last Saturday brought this curiosity of mine to the forefront.

I have always heard about various Renaissance faires where people dress up and speak in Old English, but for whatever reason I never attended one.

For the past 49 years the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale has hosted the Renaissance Pleasure Faire where the 16th century is brought back to life.

Upon arriving I realized how out of place I looked in my t-shirt and jeans, since almost everyone else was wearing elaborate costumes.

These outfits ranged from pirate attire, Viking dress and of course the huge dresses and fanned out collars of the time period.

Many attendees said the fair is a place where the 21st century is left at the gates and no description could have been more accurate.

The grounds were laid out into different sections; the first was an area dedicated to an abundance of craft stands that immediately plummeted the guests into a temporary reality.

Throughout the fair were stages that held a variety of acts that made up the bards of the old days.

Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the month of April to May 22, the fair provides an extensive list of entertainment for all ages.

An area called Kid’s Kingdom contains fun for kids with story-telling, shows and of course a gnome quest in which kids can search for gnomes hidden throughout the fair.

For those over 17 looking for a thrill, there are shows such as ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ who put on a hilarious comedic act.

Sports of the day included a tournament of championship joust and a duel with weapons where guests can test their skills or lack thereof, as I soon found out.

After seeing the many activities, I quickly realized that one day would not be enough to cover everything, and I had to narrow down my list of things to do.

“It is a great atmosphere,” DeEtta Sarkin, a vendor at a jewelry stand said. “Everyone is always happy and having a good time.”

The musical duo, Brigid’s Daughters, was one show I did not want to miss.

These two charismatic ladies displayed their talent by singing in a range of languages including Italian, French and Spanish.

After their performance, I wandered down to the food section to decide which savory item I would indulge in.

With food stands that served everything from turkey legs to fish and chips there was something for every guest to enjoy.

The Renaissance Faire is most well-known for its array of merchandise, including items like pewter goblets, stunning pieces of jewelry and attire.

One clothing stand owner said he could fit and dress me in a costume for as little as $125; and for those not able to splurge too much there were stands labeled peasantry priced goods.

“There is always a unique blend of individuals,” Patrick Redman, employee at the fair said. “I wouldn’t come back every year without these characters.”

I have to agree the highlight of the day was the people who attended.

These colorful characters made the fair what it was, and I cannot wait to attend next year for the fair’s 50th anniversary. I already have the perfect costume in mind.

Amanda Nieto can be reached at

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