KINGS VALLEY — History comes to life for one weekend in September at the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire.
The Shrewsbury team transforms a farm field in Kings Valley into a bustling Elizabethan village, complete with marketplace, a blacksmith, two taverns and, naturally, a jousting ring.
“Last year we contracted the Knights of Mayhem to do full-contact jousting,” said Jackie Hughes, one of the fair’s organizers.
This jousting troupe uses solid hemlock lances rather than the balsa wood normally used in Renaissance fairs.
Hughes has been with Shrewsbury for 24 years. Leslie Engle, her husband Adrian Hughes’ mother, founded the two-day festival in 1995.
Adrian and Jackie stepped in when Engle passed away.
Many of the same people are involved in putting the festival on each year, making each fair season like a giant family reunion, Jackie said.
More than 90 artisan vendors, entertainers and games await festival-goers in the 10 acres of field and seven acres of forest.
Jackie said they like to make sure people don’t miss the forest area, where there are two stages and living history troupes that give hourly presentations. There is a giant maze and activities for kids.
Performers fill four stages throughout the festival grounds. Among those are No Parchment Needed — an Elizabethan version of “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” and Adria the sword juggler. Historical accuracy is important to the Shrewsbury crew. Part of that is dressing in period clothing and speaking in the language of the era, though it’s not required of visitors. They even strive to have fun with some of the less enjoyable aspects of the era — a rat hunt. To clarify, the “rats” are actually humans wearing rodent masks.
When someone spots a rat, he or she gets a ribbon to tie on their bracelet, which they can then turn in at the end of the day “for goodies,” Jackie said.
“Everyone can hunt, no charge,” Jackie said.
All the world’s a stage
What: 2019 Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire.
When: Sept. 14-15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: One block east of Kings Valley Highway (Highway 223) on Grant Road.
Admission: $14 for adults, $7 for seniors and children 6-12, and free for kids 5 and younger.
Parking is free.
For more information and admission discounts: www.shrewfaire.com.