It is a weekend community thriving on social interactions
and quality hand-crafted merchandise, hundreds of years in the past yet eons ahead
of the American television and mall culture.

The 45th Annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire

26-MAY-2007

This Faire is big, in size, attendance and activities. I don't believe I saw any of the same people that I saw last year, but I'm certain many visitors and entertainers were there both years. Three of us walked the shire together, two of us with cameras: Candy used a Canon XTi digital SLR and I used film (more "period correct" than digital, at least chronologically) with a Canon EOS 3. The Call of the Faire show mostly got away from me because I was trying to figure out why the EOS wasn't working properly. It turned out that the battery compartment was not tightly secured, and once that was corrected we were on our way into another century.


Shopkeepers and Craftsmen

Quiet Introspection The Incense Trader Blue and Gold and Beauty Behind the Wares Making Yarn Fitting is a Cinch The Goldsmith

From the start to the finish of a winding corridor of tents, games and entertainment, there were shopkeepers and craftsmen in abundance. Did people really tend their shops and practice their crafts while wearing such fine clothes? Perhaps the shopkeepers did, but I'm not so sure about some of the others. However, I'm not one to complain about a good thing. I noticed the goldsmith almost immediately upon entering the main gate. His coat absolutely shouts "Goldsmith here!" The warm tones of his shop complement him well.

Nearby was an equally effective color complement in cool blue. The artisan of needlepoint looks splendid enough in blue and gold, but the blue background provides an excellent backdrop. She and the goldsmith both benefit from the soft, even light of their canopies.

The man in the red tartan beret gets soft focus behind the ornaments. When he looked to his right without turning his head, I was quick enough to see the opportunity and released the shutter.

Instead of looking away, the woman adjusting a bodice for a customer looks directly at the camera with an impish grin. She delivers personality to a photo of a common Faire scene. In addition to the obvious appeal to most men, the flowing red sleeves add fashionable grace and class. Well done!

The two shopkeepers at upper left are in the shade of their tents, and beautiful light on beautiful subjects easily gets my attention. These were relatively easy photographs to make. The woman working with the yarn, however, presented a more challenging situation. Outdoor light was harsher than the tents, but at least the background was manageable. Electronic flash was too "hard," so, with an able assistant and an eye toward being more period correct, we used a reflector instead. Huzzah!


Visitors to the Shire

A Rose and Garland The Captain and His Mate Belle and Bells Henna Tattoo Applause

Suppose they gave a RenFaire and nobody came. Not much point, eh? Well, there were plenty of visitors to this one. There seemed to be more people than the day that I attended last year. Many were dressed with at least some effort toward renaissance fashion. This faire goes on long enough each year that it might be possible to have one day set aside for Period Attire Only. How splendid the avenue would be! No matter where you look, you wouldn't see anyone who breaks the spell.

One of the great things about the Renaissance Faires is that so many people do dress in period styles. At Civil War reenactments, which are also popular and regular events, there are not so many people dressed in period clothes. The photos shown here reveal visitors enjoying a day in fashions of another time. The seafaring couple agreed to make a photograph next to the fishnets. They look magnificent together. Bells on colorful yarn get crosslight from afternoon sun. The girl, with mom's consent, agreed to stand behind the bells for this photograph. She typifies the younger maidens of the faire: beautifully and conservatively dressed, sparkling eyes, and a joyful radiance that can be felt as well as seen. The garland girl is similar in nature, with complimentary soft backlighting.

And the hands... well, the henna tattoo tent was busy a place, so there's the one on the left. The faire had over 2000 (!) performers which meant that there was more than sufficient cause for applause. Thus, the photograph on the right.


The Performers

Cooling Her Heels at the Washing Well A Renaissance Leftie! Piracy on the High Trees

They performed on stage, along the avenue, and under canopies and tents. They sang, played instruments, laughed, argued, and otherwise lent character to the shire. The street performers often engaged visitors in their merriment and discourse.

I found the pirate in a tree. He may have the award for the most photographed person at the faire. The "leftie" was near the entrance, where there was a lot going on. People were photographing several activities in progress, but this man seemed to be largely unnoticed. Choosing the road less traveled, I made this photograph instead of what everyone else was photographing.

Ren-Snoozing

What is there to say about the photo at the washing well? Good clean fun. Arcs of the well structure are countered by the triangular tent framing the woman's face. She looks pretty satisfied with her situation.

Many thanks to all the people who put up with my camera, and me, during the day at the Faire. Most of these photographs would not have been possible without their cooperation, and none would have been worth the bother without their good nature.


Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
All Rights Reserved