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  1. #1

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    Renaissance Faire Tips

    Today we attended the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire (now through May 20, weekends only) in Irwindale, CA, in the Santa Fe Recreation (dam) Area.

    CORRECTIONS: (of errors on this post) "NEXT WEEKEND" IS APRIL 14 & 15, not (as I write this) April 21 & 22. On the 14 & 15, kids are free with coupon and the group London Broil will appear on stage.

    On April 21 & 22, two of the original members of The Reduced Shakespeare Company will reprise their hilarious, approximately 30-minute version of Hamlet. (Note: They'll need a third cast member to faithfully recreate the act.)

    Pros:
    Moonie--voted the best non-musical ren fair entertainer in 2011 by Ren Fair magazine. He is the biggest reason to attend the fair. We also loved Broon as a solo act and in his end of the day show with Moonie. Unlike last year, this year's fair also has another act that is in Moonie & Broon's league: a juggling/comedy trio: London Broil. Unfortunately next weekend will be the second and last weekend for London Broil, so next weekend (April 21 or 22) would be good days to visit. (
    Also, on April 14 & 15, kids are free with a coupon you can print out from the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire's website. Warning: as of Tuesday, April 10, 2 out of 3 weather websites predict rain for Saturday & the other predicts rain for both Sat. & Sun. The theaters are outdoor, so rain at the Ren Fair would be more disruptive than rain at Disneyland, though rain before a visit would reduce the awful dust that damages this fair's location.) The kids stage had Merlin the Magician who put on a good show for younger kids. And the Magnificent Humble Boys aren't bad. if you go after this coming weekend, I suggest some Google research via the fair's schedule of entertainers and seeing if they were in the Ren Fair's list of the best ref fair entertainers for 2011. That's how we discovered the Moonie the Magnificent last year.

    Cons:
    The food is overpriced (beer is $8.50 a cup), so I would try to sneak in as much food and water as possible in a backpack. If you buy their food, I recommend the "Steak on a Stick," the sherbet packed in real fruits shells/slkins/peels, and the chopped apples covered in melted toffee, or other toppings. Restrooms on the ground are mostly port-a-potties--so that's kind of nasty, with few sinks nearby (with no soap nor ways to dry hands when I was there.) And the traffic exiting the parking lot and the dam area (there is no "M" in this "dam"), couldn't have been much worse. It made us appreciate that we have never been in a traffic jam leaving Disneyland's parking lot.

    We avoided all of the many games, the many cool shops, and the jousting--because that show disappointed us last year. My daughter had a nice long conversation with a knight about his outfit and enjoyed the rides she rode. The Faire is celebrating it's 50th anniversary, but you would hardly know it since they barely mention it anywhere.

    This location is dusty, so the faire should try for new grounds. Don't go on a hot, windy day. (I wonder if they could get the Irwindale Fire Dept. to spray the road inside the park on Thursday before the fair on weeks when it doesn't rain.)

    Still, I give this fair an enthusiastic thumbs up. Tickets are on sale (I think for $21 for adults) at Walgreens, and there is a coupon on Faire's website for $2.50 off. If you get on their emailing list they might offer other discounts later.
    Last edited by jcruise86; 04-11-2012 at 07:08 AM. Reason: typos

  2. #2

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Thanks I may go because I have 1000 point project about the Renaissance thanks for the info


  3. #3

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Try the joust this year. It's a new company taking over from the poorly reviewed joust last year. Also, for adults, I'd highly recommend checking out some of the musical shows at Rogue's Reefe, the stage for bawdy performers. Of note are the Poxy Boggards (the self-proclaimed "drinking group with a singing problem"), the Merry Wives of Windsor and the pirate acoustic heavy metal band the Dread Crew of Oddwood. Another fun activity for adults is the pub crawl, in which a group of drunken reprobates lead you around the faire getting a drink from each of the five ale stands. Also, take a moment at the faire to just observe some of the quieter parts of faire: the Queen holding court over by the Friends of Faire garden, the residents of Duckbilled Nippingshire swapping stories and singing songs near the back of the faire, the Scots of Clan MacColin going about their lives, etc. It really is a fascinating look at history in among the anachronism.
    The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.

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  4. #4

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    Thank thee for the most excellent post, BassBone!

    This fair is addictive and has made me want to visit other more highly rated renaissance fairs around the U.S. I think I will get to the Bristol one along the Wisconsin/Illinois border (rated #1 in 2011). And I've heard great things about the one in Texas--not surprisingly. (
    Don't mess with Texans in armor!)

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post
    Thank thee for the most excellent post, BassBone!

    This fair is addictive and has made me want to visit other more highly rated renaissance fairs around the U.S. I think I will get to the Bristol one along the Wisconsin/Illinois border (rated #1 in 2011). And I've heard great things about the one in Texas--not surprisingly. (
    Don't mess with Texans in armor!)
    Keep in mind that this is the original renaissance faire, begun in 1963 at their original location as an educational venture, it has been going on for 50 years. There is also another renaissance festival in Corona called the Koroneburg Old World Festival. Their website is The Crossroads Group - Faires, Festivals and Special Events.
    The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.

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  6. #6

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Should be great weather there tomorrow--seventy degrees and no dust storms.

    My daughter is excited that Punch & Judy will be back beating each other up at the children's theatre. The puppeteer there last year was excellent. And we're taking my wife for her first time! It's great knowing that Moonie is even more reliable than Shamu at putting on a good show.

  7. #7

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    We just got back from our second trip to the faire. We are now HUGE fans of the comedy juggling group LONDON BROIL. I hope they come back to our Irwindale Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire next year. The fair was refreshingly uncorporate after Disneyland. The rides are propelled by people. The employees at the rock climbing wall said my daughter could climb walls for a long as she liked ($6). The $7 fencing lesson with two other kids lasted for 30 minutes, and the less formal sword fighting area allowed her to have many fun fights for just $5. We had a great time and look forward to going again next year. We might even visit America's top rated Ren. Fair in Bristol, Wisconsin.

  8. #8

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post
    We just got back from our second trip to the faire. We are now HUGE fans of the comedy juggling group LONDON BROIL. I hope they come back to our Irwindale Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire next year. The fair was refreshingly uncorporate after Disneyland. The rides are propelled by people. The employees at the rock climbing wall said my daughter could climb walls for a long as she liked ($6). The $7 fencing lesson with two other kids lasted for 30 minutes, and the less formal sword fighting area allowed her to have many fun fights for just $5. We had a great time and look forward to going again next year. We might even visit America's top rated Ren. Fair in Bristol, Wisconsin.
    The Bristol Faire is also owned by the same people as the So-Cal Pleasure Faire. They also own another Faire in Tuxedo, New York. There has been some drama at the So-Cal Faire between the management from Bristol and the dedicated volunteers who make the Faire happen in So-Cal. So far I think it's a been a pretty good compromise between accuracy and modern sensibilities. So far the worst thing has been the inclusion of food trucks this year. Yuck.
    The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.

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  9. #9

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    The mostly overpriced foods at the fair are a mixed bag. Love steak on a stake, Broon's chopped apples with caramel, and the sherbet served in fruit shells & peels. But I welcome any options that make me less captive to often bad, overpriced food in any theme park or fair. Over the two days we had an overpriced baked potato, a strangely cooked bratwurst, and a tasty, but too-small-for-the-price steak and mushroom pie. (We went two days.) Again, $8.50 for a beer? No thanks. My wife had two $3 bottles of water, but liked her $8 burrito from a stand run by Pasadena's excellent El Chollo restaurant.

    When I wrote above that the Faire seemed "refreshingly uncorporate" in my post above, it did seem like many people in costume there were there for the love of the event. I didn't think about how many of them were volunteers. When Mickey at the dragon pole swing let me ride for free with my daughter and then told me what a great 'Ren Fair band Circo Paleo was, he too seemed like one of the many cast members who were not there for the $.

  10. #10

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    I was contemplating putting my Faire pics up. I'm glad to see others had a chance to attend as well! The talent is absolutely amazing.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  11. #11

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post

    When I wrote above that the Faire seemed "refreshingly uncorporate" in my post above, it did seem like many people in costume there were there for the love of the event. I didn't think about how many of them were volunteers. When Mickey at the dragon pole swing let me ride for free with my daughter and then told me what a great 'Ren Fair band Circo Paleo was, he too seemed like one of the many cast members who were not there for the $.
    Yep, most of us are volunteers, especially the "street" cast.

    I've been "working" faire since 1998. I have been part of Cuthbert's (parades), the Yeomen of the Guard (the guys in red who carry the Queen's chair) and most recently part of Queen's court.

    The cast (for the most part) are responsible for their own clothing, including buying the fabric, jewels, beads and what have you. We sew our own costumes as well.

    Our props (swords, hats, pouches, belts, goblets and tankards) are bought or made by the participants.

    These things do not come cheap... I did the math one time and figured at any one time I have over $2000 worth of stuff on my person. (Costume, hat, sword, boots and everything else...)

    It is truly a labor of love.

  12. #12

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    I was contemplating putting my Faire pics up. . .
    Please do!

  13. #13

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    I will put the pics at the end of this. My wife and I have been going together to Faire for over 10 years. I'd been going consistently several years before that. Together we've watched it grow and change. We've seen many games, and many acts come and go. I will forever miss The Rat Race... if you have to ask you'll never understand what it is or why it has left such a large shadow...

    Ticket Tips; They have an "early bird" online ticket sale every year that is roughly 30% off ticket price. You can usually score cheap tickets on here. They've also ran 2 promotions every year for the past 3 years. 1st weekend is traditionally Buy 1 Adult ticket at the gate, get a 2nd Free. 2nd weekend is traditionally Military/Emergency Responders/Kids (as in all kids under 12) in free. For Tink and I this means we can enjoy 2 weekends for the price of an additional adult ticket! I can not promise they will continue the same promotional. All I can say is that we've taken advantage of it and we spend more because we save so much!

    Show Tips; The most popular shows "fill up" 15-20 minutes prior during the busy opening weekends. In later weeks the crowds are lighter but you pay more to get in (as in no promotionals beyond a $5 off coupon for an adult). If you want to stack shows, plan for the time between them to walk and allocate extra time for being early. THIS is why Tink and I do 2 weekends. We burn the first weekend on games, and the 2nd on shows.

    Food; All meat items will be more expensive, deal with it. You can bring food/drinks/snacks so that is always an option. If I had to "recommend" anything from a pricepoint it would be pizza, queen's cup (fruit bowl) and crepe's. The pizza slices are large enough for 2 small kids to share, the queen's cup is perfect size for several kids, and the crepe is big enough for 2 adults to share.

    All in all we had a great time. Faire has something for everyone, but you have to be willing to seek out what you want. If you want to do things you can't do, the games are there. If you are a crafts person, or a makeup person, there is plenty to see. If you like live entertainment it's there. If you're a foodie, there are plenty of specialty foods as well. It really is something for everyone.


    She turned 8... and this was her present... an audience with the Queen!


    learning to write with a quill



    Fairies interacting





    Random individuals, characters, merchants, and people who just enjoy Faire


    The Queen

    ---------- Post added 05-07-2012 at 09:08 PM ----------

    The Shows...




    Circa Paleo





    The Kondor Brothers
    Last edited by techskip; 05-07-2012 at 08:10 PM.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  14. #14

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    Thanks, techskip! Those pictures are great!

    This was the second year in a row we went, and both years we went twice. Part of my plot is to get my daughter better prepared to experience the Shakespeare festivals in Ashland, Oregon, and in Stratford, Canada starting when she's at least 11.


  15. #15

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    Re: Renaissance Faire Tips

    JC I have more I just HATE this auto attach post "feature" in the new vforums. I didn't want to flood the thread with a giant post.





    more costumes and characters











    The Glass Blowers! This show is ever hour, a must for anyone who enjoys seeing artwork in progress.
    Last edited by techskip; 05-07-2012 at 08:40 PM.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


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