Tuesday, November 13, 2012

50 Years of Renaissance Faire History on Display

This year the 50th year that the Southern California Renaissance Faire has been open.  The faire began in 1963 as a result of the efforts of Ron and Phyllis Patterson.
Renaissance Faire History
It honor of its 50th actual year in the business of entertaining the public and providing information on the Renaissance period,  the owners of the faire set up a museum at the Renaissance Faire
site this year. The Museum  had a greeter at the door, to entertain and delight the guests as they came in.  There was also a series of entertainers throughout the day.

There was a miniature wooden reproduction of the  Mayflower Stage (photo below).  The Mayflower Stage was the central stage for the Renaissance Faire (held at the Paramount Ranch in Aguora, California) in the sixties and seventies.  While the faire is no longer held at the Paramount Ranch location, its does still exist, thanks to many individuals who worked to have it declared a California State Park.

The Mayflower Stage was the central entertainment center for the Renaissance Faire and could be seen from anywhere on the faire site. It was a tall wooden two story stage.  The open hexagon shape was designed like the the famous Shakespeare Globe Theater in England.   
You can see the stage clearly depicted on the map of the Paramount Ranch faire site below.

The display of various costumes worn by previous actresses depicting Queen Elizabeth I,

was interesting to see in person.
There was so much beading detail in each piece.
Some of the jewelry worn by the actresses throughout the years, were also on display.
They also had pictures of past "Royal Queens Court" depictions.

One could see the work of over 100 talented and skilled artists who had displayed and sold their artwork throughout the years at the local Renaissance Faire (some still do).
Wardell's Pottery Green Man
Skull Plate - Wardell's Pottery

Potters to the People
Wheat Goddess by Cora Hendershot

Spirit of the Forest Leather Masks by Mitchell Walker

Wooden Miniature Tudor Village
Pewter Dragon

The pillory below has been on display and available for photo opportunities for guest and participants alike throughout the years.  It is maintained by the construction crew of the "Friends of Faire" organization.
A Pillory that has been maintained by the Friends of Faire
The museum also displayed props and other ephemeral that celebrated the anniversary of the faire. The Giant below is made of paper mache and has been in service throughout the years as a prop for use during the "Morning Opening Parade" and various other parades throughout the day.
Kristina Iodice (far left) and Sarah Shaw (far right)

The Renaissance Faire Museum also had some dioramas on display that depicted different scenes from the Renaissance Faire during the early sixties.  Artist Julie Meredith, who was a vendor during the sixties, made these amazingly detailed paper mache Renaissance Faire dioramas. In the photo below
Renaissance Faire Entrance Diorama

you can also see a depiction of the original entrance of the Renaissance Faire. FOF members have also added a display of the membership FOF (Friends of Faire) medals from various years for all to view.

Below is a picture of a diorama that depicts some of the entertainment that was available at the time. This particular diorama shows figures dancing and musicians playing various instruments (also made from paper).
Figures Depicting The Dancers at Faire Diorama

    Over the years these dioramas have been displayed in various locations, including the Natural History Museum during the mid 1970s. Unfortantly, five years ago, the dioramas suffered extreme damage from a storm.  Being that the figures were made from paper mache,  some of the figures were permanently destroyed by the water damage from that storm.
      Below is what the musicians looked like before they were damaged.  We lost three figures. the original tree and some props from this diorama.  The other three dioramas lost some figures and props, however the loss from this particular diorama was much more significant.

The figures and decor pieces that survived were restored by Paper Artist, Maria Del Pinto, from the "Friends of Faire" organization.  Below is what the diorama looks like today.
Musician Diorama

Friends of Faire (FOF) is staffed by volunteers who donate their time and their talents to make the faire experience better for everyone.

Maria Del Pinto who restores and maintains the dioramas
Each one of these pieces has tremendous details, like in the photo below where the figure is

spinning.  The spindle is made of paper but the wool is actually wool.  You can see wooden knitting needles in the bottom center of the picture with a knitted project that is in progress (it takes a lot longer when working in this scale).  

In the photo above you can see that the bells, head wreaths, faux leather purses,

and faux Tudor plaques are all made from paper.  The workmanship by the original artist was amazing, especially considering the limited materials available to her at that time period.  They did not have the paper punches in the 60s that are readily available today.

 There was also a wide selection of pottery, jewelry, costuming, signage, and props on display in the museum. This included the fun gypsy cart below that was used for shows during the early years of the faire.

Over the years, the faire has been survived more than its share of challenges to survive and grow.  For past cast members and visitors, this was a glorious time to celebrate and share memories with each.  As for those who were new to the faire experience, they had a chance to learn about some of the history of the event and the general purpose of this particular event.


1 comment:

  1. Small correction: The Park is a National Park, not a California State Park.