West > Northern California Renaissance Faire

Shasta Dragonwood in October

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Is anyone going to this fair?  It October 4th and 5th up in Anderson.  That's just south of Redding.  It's a Celtic Faire and I've heard good things from past fair goers....playtons and guilds alike.

If you are, look for me.  I run with 3 other ladies and we call ourselves the Peanut Gallery.  We like to interact with the patrons and playtrons and will join in anything that looks fun.  St. Andrew's will be holding court so you will probably see us admiring the Queen's guard....mmmmm....kilts.


For those who may not have seen the post on FaireNews, Shasta's promoters have signed Tartanic to be there. The other headlining musical group is Golden Bough. Quite a contrast between the two and it should make for a great day.

Lady Grape:
Definitely not the best weather this weekend for the faire.  Saturday had sun peaking through every so often with a couple of sprinkles to keep it interesting.  Sunday was colder with no sun what so ever. 

Golden Bough played most of the day and they filled the grounds with wonderful sounds.  Late in the afternoon Tartanic took the stage and I think they were taking requests or just playing around because as we walked around most people were snickering at "Star wars theme" and "We are the champions" played on bagpipes.  They did play more traditional music and again the whole area was filled with beautiful music. 

This year the powers that be spread the faire over a bigger area, which was nice it gave the shops more area to display their wares and have paytrons look without running over each other.  There were more handcrafted items then last year and the street performers were more playful then last year.  Weather or lack of advertising had the crowds down from last year so I hope the vendors made enough money to make it worth coming back next year.  A couple new food booths were added which gave us something new to sample (good crepes) and one of the better food booths didn't attend at all.  I overheard a few complaints from vendors about the lack of organization but that's a given since it's only been under this management for a couple of years now and I think they are trying to work out the bugs.  Not sure what happened to the jousting but it wasn't there this year.  Did not see too many fencing displays but they did get the court to dance.  Myth & Magic were great, Trey Cromwell was excellent at staying on script even though being heckled.  There was a group of men and women that were acting and singing that were very entertaining. 

My only disappointment or curiosity was after each show the hat was passed around, which makes me wonder what our ticket price is paying for?  They raised the entrance fee to $11 or $13 (without coupon) so if part of it doesn't go to pay the performers where exactly is that money going to? 

I still have yet to see another faire so I can only say that our faire improved in some ways over last year but still isn't as exciting as it could be.

For such a bleak beginning, Shasta did turn out to be a great fair.  I loved the Shasta crowds!  They were so eager to play and have fun.  It made our jobs as actors almost effortless!  I met some really fun folks.  As an actor I think this may become one of the fairs to look forward to.  Besides, I have family up there, it's practically home turf for me:)

It was a shame that a few guilds and vendors chose to opt out on account of rain; that attributed to some of the disorganized appearance.  There was a bit of shuffling going on by the production team to fill the gaps-and at night in the wind and rain, that was an accomplishment.  It was nice to have room to spread out though.  Our pavillion was waaaayyy in the back, and at first we weren't too sure about that, but in the end we liked it.  It really let us have room for some of the audience participation games we wanted to play and try out new gigs.

I heard disappointments about the jousting too, but it wasn't scheduled for this year.  Even tho it wasn't advertised, it had been  there previous years so many folks assumed.  As for the shows, passing the hat after a show is nothing new or unusual.  You see it at most faires.  A $13 per person entrance fee is very reasonable compared to other faires.  However, it does make the Production team have to stretch their dollar a bit.  Many of the stage shows are actually incomes for the actors performing them.  Allowing the acts to pass the hat allows the team to book quality shows at a reasonable price and still give their actors enough to live on.  Think of it like tipping your waitress.  You do that without blinking, regardless of how expensive the meal might be.

You should visit some other faires!  There are quite a few here in Northern California.  Folsom, Tahoe, Willits, Fair Oaks, Casa de Fruta....each has it owns flavor.  I was a paytron for years before joining my guild.  It never got old:)

Lady Grape:
I am glad to hear someone else had fun.  I was more curious about the entrance fee and hat tipping more then I was complaining.  I want the actors and vendors to make enough money so that they will come back year after year. 

I have my list of California Ren faires and hopefully come the spring I will be able to visit them all (or at least a couple)  ;D ;)


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