2012 marks the golden anniversary of this cherished SoCal celebration of mead, wenches, and gallant guardians of the olde tyme village of Port Deptford (aka the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale).
We’re all familiar with the Middle Ages; an era of lords and ladies, of swords and sorcery, of knights going into battle to protect the sacred realm of the kingdom. We may not be familiar with all of the intricacies of the era, but at least we’ve seen stuff like “Game of Thrones” or “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” to fill us in on the kind of activities that went down during that time period. Bottom line, a lot of cool stuff took place over in Europe several hundred years ago.
This is something that the good folks behind Southern California’s Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire have known since their annual springtime fete hit the scene 50 years ago. That’s right; 2012 marks the golden anniversary of this cherished SoCal celebration of mead, wenches, and gallant guardians of the olde tyme village of Port Deptford (aka the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale). To celebrate this sacred milestone, the Faire is rolling out a spectacular international list of talented artists, musicians, and performers to bring that sense of medieval goodness to its fullest. We are talking about mystical vocalists hailing from the Andes, mesmerizing dancers from Spain, awe-inspiring magicians from ancient, exotic kingdoms (roll with it), and oh so much more. Huzzah, indeed.
In addition to these special anniversary acts, the Ren Faire will feature all of the time honored events and happenings that you have come to expect from this classic gathering. Thrill to the sight of a jousting competition. Lose yourself to the revelry of a classic musical march. Indulge in the unmatched flavors of turkey legs roughly the size of your head. Delight to the musings of long-time players performing in a host of different shows, varying from acts of silly comedy to the brilliant works of Shakespeare.
If you plan on bringing the children in tow, the Ren Faire has plenty of options to keep them occupied. The littlest lords and maidens will have a blast gathering around master storytellers, playing old-old-old school games, participating in wacky interactive magic shows, and learning to do imaginative crafts and play period instruments. Plus, 25 lucky tykes will be made a Knight or Dame of the Ream by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth herself, giving them something to brag about constantly on the drive home.
But above all the games, the food, and the revelry, the Ren Faire is all about the costumes. Really, the amazingly detailed peasant outfits, bawdy bodices, regal knight garb, and kick-butt weaponry that is perpetually on display, by both the workers of the Faire and the patrons that walk through its sprawl, brings the time period to life more than any other activity. If you are even so much as contemplating donning a costume and coming here, by all means go for it. After all, when is the next time you are going to have the chance to wear chainmail in public?
Saturdays and Sundays, April 7 – May 20
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Advanced tickets: $17.50 for adults, $10.50 children 5-12; Box office tickets: $25 for adults, $15 for children; children under 4 free.
Rich Manning is a writer in Orange County who is a big Ren Faire geek. See more of his work at OC Executive.