Wizards and Wenches

Exhibitors and demonstrations such as Last Chance Forever’s bird of prey conservancy will draw visitors to the first Kerrville Renaissance Festival on Jan 27-29.

Jan 25, 2017–Not to alarm readers, but the Hill Country is being invaded by marauding hordes, intent upon establishing a sovereign country ruled by medieval laws and customs.

And food and fun.

The invaders march under the flag of the Kerrville Renaissance Festival, a new event that will take over the Shire of Kerr–heretofore known as the River Star Arts & Events Park–on Jan 27-29.

This excites me, because one of the unreasonable pleasures we’ve had as a family is attending a Renaissance Festival. But they’ve always been so far away.

Unlike a visit to an amusement park or county fair, at a RenFest you become part of the show. Our daughter was a fairy, with nylon wings and glitter makeup. Our son, a knight, with cardboard armor and broomstick sword. As parents, we were going as spectators. As kids, they were going to slay dragons, cast spells, and defend battlements.

This is the appeal of a Renaissance Festival, according to April Cory, General Manager of Illusions Into Reality.

“This is more about fantasy than a pure Renaissance event,” Cory said. “But it’s all about doing something different and having fun. You have to suppress reality!”

While this first iteration won’t sport castles or jousting arenas, a marketplace will arise with canvas tents and colorful booths hawking everything from illusion spinners to hair ribbons. All enlivened by a spirited cast of jugglers, jesters, magicians, musicians, knaves, wenches, and pixies, doing their best to engage you in badinage and goad you to mischief.

Cory confirmed that “crazy characters” will abound, including fairies, wizards, gnomes, and a “tomato guy” who hurls insults your way to encourage you to throw rotten tomatoes his way.

“This is not like a movie,” she warned. “The characters are going to interact with you. The tomato guy is going to insult you. It’s like interactive theater. You are encouraged to put on a costume and become a part of it.”

Gastronomic adventure also awaits. The menu includes turkey legs, deep fried ravioli, cotton candy, cinnamon roasted nuts, ice cream, fried shrimp po’ boys, crepes, BBQ sandwiches, donuts, funnel cakes, and, of course, dragon-on-a-stick. Not really, but pretty much everything-else-on-a-stick.

Cory, who gets into the act as a hair braider, promises an array of crafters and presenters, including knife throwers, archers, potters, and arrow makers.

That’s a lot of activities for a first-year event that was put together when a calendar slot opened up on short notice. But Cory and Hal Robinson, owner, have years of experience putting on shows across the country. They were even able to identify two local nonprofits to benefit: Art2 Heart, a performing troupe; and Last Chance Forever, the bird of prey conservancy. Both will have booths on the grounds.

So forsooth! Clear your calendar of dragon training and barrel mending, and make plans to storm the gates. Gird your loins, hone your blade, line up your peons, and plan a day of entertainment of royal proportions in a land not so far away.

XXX

Details:

The first Kerrville Renaissance Festival will be held Jan 27, 28, 29, from 10-5 on Fri and Sat; from 10-4 on Sun. Information and tickets at www.kerrvillerenfest.com.

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Phil Houseal is a writer and owner of Full House PR, www.fullhouseproductions.net.

Contact him at phil@fullhouseproductions.net.