Small is beautiful.

The Escondido Renaissance Faire


The Escondido Renaissance Faire is "cozy." It is small in size and scope, but not in value, fun or sociable people. A good-natured chap ushered us to a premium parking spot for handicapped (for my mother and wheelchair) so that we could make our way to the entry gate with minimum fuss. My mother, 82, was dressed in frills and colours, but wasn't entirely certain what was in store for her. As we waited at the gate for the official 10:00 A.M. opening, she began to get the picture. All manner of period characters were assembling. Like me, she enjoyed the colorful fashions and personalities.

Once inside the gate, we began a maze-like tour of tents, stages, vendors and games. My impression is that the percentage of period-dressed visitors was higher at this faire than others I've attended. The sum of it all was colorful feast for the eyes. Plus, there were musicians performing on stage and throughout the faire, so the faire was sweet on the ears, also. It seemed that the off-stage musicians were more abundant than at other faires, but that may be an illusion due to the size of the Escondido Faire. One nice touch was that there was a small stage in the "food court" area, and we enjoyed two singing groups during lunch. The performers may have been a bit disappointed with the shortage of applause and shouts of "huzzah!" but the lunch crowd had their hands and mouths busy with food. From where I sat, it was clear that everyone was enjoying the music with their meals.

Of course, feasting on food, color and music is a stale experience without the complement of good and pleasant people. There was no shortage here. From pirates to aristocracy, everyone was in good humour and receptive to conversation. We even had a chat with Her Majesty, the Queen, who took a liking to my mother. They had a good conversation, and mother received a gift: a ring from Her Majesty's left hand. She had certainly won the favor of the Nobility - and on her first Faire adventure!

I had considered bringing the medium format camera along, but brought a 35mm camera instead. But I must bring the big camera to one of these events, sometime. It would certainly show its advantage in the full-length fashion shots. Nevertheless, the smaller camera gave good service and I was able to photograph some of the activities and characters of the Faire.

One of the nice things about the small size of the Escondido Faire was that I could easily keep track of how light was changing at different locations. I made many circuits throughout the area, and often found good situations that had "light issues" earlier. Also, activities were continually evolving, and I was able to keep reasonably up to date with them.

Late afternoon light got very nice. That is when I was able to photograph the dancer at the top right of this page. She was not on stage, but instead was dancing spontaneously on the grass. Soon after, I encountered a group of people that I had noticed several times earlier in the day, but the light had always been too harsh. But the afternoon light was working, throwing their encampment into shadow. A bit of help with a gold reflector yielded sparkling eyes and soft, even light on beautiful complexions.

It was a good day with good weather. (I think they may have gotten a bit of rain on Sunday, but I don't know.) The activities and people carried the day in fine form. My mother had a wonderful time, and continues to talk about what a fun event it was. My thanks to all the people who made the day for her and for me. I hope to return again.

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
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