Today I joined a friend for a bit of old world fun. We drove to Deerfield Beach to browse through the enchanted Ren-Fest Village filled with crafts from over one hundred merchants and artisans demonstrating and selling their wares. Visitors can behold glass blowing, hammered pewter, wooden toys, unique pottery, clothing and a wealth of other riches. Applaud hundreds of performers, not only on the twelve stages but literally all around the village. Sword fighters, minstrels, magicians, salty pirates, wenches and more! For all the world’s a stage. Cheer battling knights as they mount their steeds, lower their visors, aim their lances and charge at full tilt, thrice daily. Feast on hearty food fit for a king or visit the pub and toast to the Royal Court with a tankard of ale or cider. Hip! Hip! Huzzah! Or perchance you would rather play games of chance and skill which challenge both young and old alike. You can choose from archery, the test of strength, Jacob’s Ladder and more.
As I was entering the village I past Glass Harps, the Glass Music of Eric and Susan Scites. I wish I’d been able to get a good photo. The glass harp creates a relaxing experience of one of the truly unique instruments to come out of the Renaissance. The Glass Harp, or Ghost Fiddle, is truly an ethereal sound, sure to please even the grumpiest of trolls, ogres, teenagers and spouse! Believed to be at once a cursed instrument, and a blessed one, it was said to have to power to cure heartache of the love lorn! It worked on me for awhile.
For those who desire Equestrian enjoyment, they only needed to head for The Field of Dreams arena where Noble Cause Productions is a company specializing in jousting, stage combat instruction, fight choreography, and horse stunts. They are dedicated to providing the highest quality shows for audiences. Noble Cause is continually striving to reach new heights with breathtaking new show concepts. Best thought of as an intense equestrian 3-act play, each performance increases in dramatic intent as the day progresses.
Flight of the Raptor, my personal favorite show, was officially founded in 1995 by Ray Pena, Master Falconer, and continues today as the finest example of this ancient sport. They provide birds of prey in flight and demonstrations designed to educate, enlighten, and amaze their audiences.
A Ren-Fest visitor can also get ready to … Sit! Stay! Get ready to howl! Johnny Peers and his personality-plus canines will tickle your funny bone! Since their 1980 debut, the Muttville Comix have appeared on David Letterman, Primetime Live, Circus of the Stars, Disneyland, Busch Gardens, the Big Apple Circus, even The White House! It’s a show for the whole family and the dog lover in all of us. The show stars mostly dogs rescued from animal shelters or pounds. The 2003 Animal Planet Pet Star Winners called the show, “…a truly funny, slapstick dog act.” You don’t want to miss this show.
For the adults there is even an Rated-R show on the Great Hall stage. I caught the end of sisters Iris and Rose’s naughty, bawdy comedy singings show. Iris and Rose are definitely for adults only. Be prepared for comedy, singing, jokes, limericks, toasts and even a bit of juggling. I think some audience member laughed so hard they wet themselves. Iris and Rose are a sister duo that performs bawdy songs and suggestive verses at several different Renaissance Festivals around the country. To date they have five CD’s full of bawdy and just outright sometimes distasteful songs. Word of warning: The material is not for children.
The sisters were followed by equally irreverent Arthur Greenleaf Holmes, sixteenth century libertine and until recently, anonymous poet. Today, by some miracle of an enduring spirit that I didn’t spend too much time examining, Arthur brought his wildly inappropriate poetry to the Ren-Fest. Arthur presents a show that is extremely literate, entrancingly lyrical, breathtakingly scandalous and very, very funny. However, your ears will burn and you will pray you’re not found at his show for the second coming.
Lo’ and behold there were even pirates at this Ren-Fest! Port Royal Buccaneers is a group of performers who specialize in the Golden Age of Piracy period. How they fit into a Ren-Fest I don’t know, but it was fun. They perform a parade, black powder show, complete with several dozen guns (pistols, rifles, blunderbuss, flintlock and percussion) and cannons; as well as swordplay; songs and drama. Their goal is to promote interest in and education about the Golden Age of Piracy through entertainment and perform at shows, Pirate Festivals and Renaissance Fairs. The Port Royal Buccaneers emphasize black powder safety and education, in a fun and informative show.
Don’t forget the food! There are Promenade Fun Foods – Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Ribbon Fries, Blooming Onions, Ribbon Fires on a Stick, Hand Dipped Chocolate cheesecake and bananas, frozen lemonade, roasted nuts, soft- serve ice cream.
Quaker Confections – Pizza, Strudel, Sausage, peppers and onions on a bun. Fish & Chips, Scotch Eggs, Pasta
C&R Food Concessions – Greek food, Arepas, Smoothies.
Bobby Rodriguez Productions – Giant turkey legs, roasted corn, pretzels and pickles & lemonade
And Sir Munch-A-Lots – fried Oreos, snickers, PB&J, baked potatoes with toppings, garlic mushrooms.
*Look for photos under the Photo Pages