The Renaissance Experience

Greetings All,

I have seldom been as excited about any project as the creation of Sherwood Forest Faire (other than my life with my wife…and many years later, the starting of our family with two beautiful boys). I wanted to share a bit with you of my own dream, of my vision, and of the motivation behind tackling such an undertaking as starting another renaissance festival from scratch.

From my adolescence, I was a patron of Texas Renaissance Festival in the mid-seventies. I even joined SCA in my early twenties just as a means to get in every weekend. I wasn’t SCA material. But, I paid my dues at King of Log for two hours a day so I could spend the rest of the Faire hours roaming the grounds, watching the shows, and having my fortune read.

We now own three booths at two renaissance festivals. We own two gift and jewelry stores in Texas. In my other Mon-Fri life, I am in senior management of a good size not-for-profit where I have served the needy in Texas for 19 years. A few of my other passions are history, world travel, folk, renaissance, and bluegrass music. I also believe that all of us should grapple with the bigger philosophical questions before us since the inception of higher thought: who we are as a species, as individuals, as a social organism? What is our greater purpose? Is there a soul? If so, does it transmigrate this temporal life? I lean toward more platonic view . . . seeming to hold some value in the concept of Dualism. But I don’t really know.

I think we miss community–a sense of belonging. I think it’s why the television show, Cheers, was so popular…we all want a place where everybody knows our name. Be that our family name or the renaissance name we might have given ourselves. I think a desire for community is one of the greatest draws to renaissance festivals for the playtrons.

Another reason the renaissance experience is so attractive to others is it seems to be a place not only of fun and sense-stimulation, it is also a place people feel relaxed enough to “let down their hair” and be themselves. Few pretenses.

One Sunday evening after TRF had closed its gates to end another season, I found my way to a participants’ drum circle. It started around 10pm . . . and by 2am, the fire had died out, the drums had gone silent, and the dancers had sat cuddled up to their respective loved ones. It was cold–bitter cold. And one of the drummers sang a Bob Marley song about belonging, about being one people. And for the first time, I understood the primal magic of the drums. It was spiritual–some link to my ancestors thousands of years prior huddled around a campfire at night.

There was another evening musicians were playing at one of the participant campgrounds behind TRF. The music was great. The conversations were meaningful. And then a lady in her gypsy belly-dancing outfit stood and started to dance to the rhythm. Soon after, she bent down and offered her small daughter a hand and brought her into the dance. This tradition from eons ago went on for over an hour . . . as the mom shared the dance experience with a future dancer.

One of the reasons I believe so much in the renaissance experience are for the episodes mentioned above. These all recount something of our desire for Tribe. And out in the midst of a Renaissance Festival, there are many tribes which converge to dance, sing, chant, swing swords, twirl fire, re-enact an early era in man’s past, create if only for a season an order which makes to them a bit more sense than the alienated world many live in today.

I want to facilitate others to build their communities within the confines of Sherwood Forest Faire. I want others to be open to the magic of a drumming circle. I want to spend these last years of my life being about making people laugh and play and feel better for having spent the day or weekend walking through a medieval village.

I want to take the best from other renaissance festivals around the states, as well as ideas and visions of the many vendors, patrons, playtrons, and actors, and mold these best practices into one Faire which will stand above the rest as a spectacular creation–not of one individual, but rather, a collage of many . . . each with his/her own “paint brush” effecting, touching, designing how it will be.

I want to support Rescue–the not-for-profit 501(c) 3 which was created by those on the renaissance festival circuit to assist the uninsured workers how entertain, work the games and rides, attend to many of the booths, etc.

I want the campsite on Saturday nights to be as alive as the Faire is during the days–a pub, a drumming circle, and a stage.

I am committed to making this a truly remarkable Faire experience. I hope many of you will visit the Faire as it evolves. I hope many of you will take up your own “brushes” and offer to “paint” your designs upon this developing canvas. I hope you will offer us your best thoughts and meditations, as well as your advice, ideas, and cautions.

This will be a collaborative endeavor.

The grounds are beautiful. I sought the right place for more than two years. My family walked and road through more woods and pastures than you can imagine. And what we are offering as our best setting is a forest of oaks and pines on sandy soil 35 miles east of Austin, Texas on U.S. Highway 290.

We hope some of you will decide to join the Sherwood Forest Faire Acting Company. Others of you might choose to sell your wares as an artist or merchant. Or sing, face paint, tell fortunes, braid hair, apply henna tattoos, or work during the Faire as seasonal sales persons.

We hope thousands upon thousands of you will decide to buy a ticket for you and your family and walk the grounds, enjoy the entertainment, dance a bit with us, and come back to be a part of the Sherwood Forest Faire year after year.

Let this Faire be a part of your dream!



Category : Rengypsy's Blog

One Comment → “The Renaissance Experience”

  1. Wally Ouren
    8 years ago

    I think this is a real great blog. Want more.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.