story and photos by Jamie Smith
FAYETTEVILLE — It was a vision of yesteryear this weekend at the Washington County Fairgrounds as the Renaissance and Fantasy Faire of the Ozarks gave local families a fun look at the past.
Sponsored by 3 Crones and a Pirate Productions, this is the second fall event for the Faire. Margaret Rivera, who also plays the Queen, is one of the event coordinators. She said that the event has become increasingly popular, as have renaissance faires across the country. It’s a combination between fantasy and education, she said.
The event was Saturday (Nov. 10) and continues through 6 p.m. Sunday. There are vendors, food booths, plays, a petting zoo and several re-enactment style events including the Tournament of Just Causes by the Society of Creative Anachronism.
One unique aspect of this faire is that there is no alcohol served.
“We’re trying to promote family fun. When you have people with swords and knives, drinking is not a good idea,” Rivera said with a laugh.
Shawn Sanders and his children Gabe Sanders (9) and Taylor Sanders (12) of Rogers decided to check out what the faire had to offer.
“We wanted to get outside and do something fun,” Shawn Sanders said.
The two siblings both agreed that the axe throwing event was their favorite, but they disagreed on the ease of throwing axes at hanging tree stumps.
“It was so challenging,” Taylor said.
“It was easy,” Gabe countered.
Members of the SCA were on hand to demonstrate their various skills and educate visitors about the renaissance era. Members of the society choose a character or persona to adopt when they are participating in SCA events, said Muirgheal of Inghean Domhnaill (Julie Murie in real life). She chose a character from Scotland because that’s part of her heritage, she said.
Other members of the SCA competed in the Tournament of Just Causes, which was a full-armored, non-choreographed fighting re-enactment event. Each knight earned sponsorships for a chosen charity and if a knight won their fight, they earned money for that charity.
Anne Raines of Fayetteville attended the faire with her daughter and mother and watched the tournament.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said of the faire. “It’s a nice cross section of human life, a lot of people from all different perspectives. It’s an excellent opportunity to people watch and see their interpretations for dress and activities of the period.”
Justin Cohee of Cheyenne Trading Company performs varying re-enactments at faires and other events throughout the year. Most of the time it’s from the colonial period but this is his second renaissance faire.
“We like keeping history alive,” he said. “We are able to fill in the gaps that they aren’t getting in school. There are areas (in history) that get breezed over.”
Tom January also brought family, including his six-year-old grandsons, Will and Matt January.
“We loved it,” he said. “We would love to see it grow. This has been a great thing to share and learn everything that’s here.”