Step through the gates at Young Park on November 2 and 3 and find yourself transported back in time 500 years to an age of Kings and Queens, knights on horseback and fair ladies in waiting. Find yourself surrounded by peasants and nobles of the kingdom enjoying a pleasant day at the faire, perusing arts and crafts, being astonished by magicians and jousters, gnawing on turkey legs, and cheering on knights in armor as they joust with lances from atop their mighty horses. You’re now part of an experience that lets you become as immersed in days gone by as you wish: the 48th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire, hosted by the Doña Ana Arts Council.
The Renaissance ArtsFaire offers something for everyone, with fine art and handcrafted items, delicious food (offered by area non-profit organizations), a Children’s Realm, entertainment on several stages, a beer and wine garden, and the beloved Magellan the Dragon, who will yet again be in his rightful place on the lake.
This family-friendly event welcomes those who wish to dress in period attire as well as visitors who would rather stay true to the 21st century while observing life as it was during the Renaissance period. Queen Sherrie is on the throne in all her grandeur, and ready to lead a grand procession through the realm at one o’clock each day. She invites all subjects to join in the procession (who are dressed in costume, of course) and follow her as she makes her way to the Main Stage. There’s plenty for the wee ones to do with a special Children’s Realm featuring entertainment by Magician Chris Mitchell and bird of prey demonstrations by Hawk Qwest. Everyone will want to explore the Crimson Bear Court to visit with the knights and ladies and watch period dances and other unique entertainment. The Boy Scouts once again will offer canoe rides to get an up-close view of Magellan as he roars, blows smoke, and delights the crowds.
The Order of Epona’s jousters on horseback will return for two shows daily giving faire visitors an opportunity to experience the entertainment of Renaissance royalty. Jousting will take place at 11 am and 3 pm on Saturday, and 11 am and 2:30 pm on Sunday. Jousters will charge each other while mounted on sturdy steeds, seeking to knock each other from their horses. Visitors can rowdily cheer on the knight of their choice and perhaps bestow the winner with a favor.
New this year will be Jeffrey the Juggler who will perform at the Main Stage each day and roam throughout the park delighting faire-goers with his special show. Also new this year will be Indian dancers at the Queen’s Court, a food booth with pizza offerings, and new “foam fencing” in the Children’s Realm. Even though there is continuous entertainment on four stages, fans will be disappointed to learn that Robert the Ratcatcher has retired and will no longer be at the top of the hill with his “Ratapult”. The Ratapult machine and the ratcatcher costume are gone, but Bob Diven is still around. He may make an appearance at the faire this year and will always be known and loved as the father of dragon Magellan.
In addition to games and entertainment at the Children’s Realm, attendees can support young artisans aged 16 and under, who have the opportunity to peddle their wares at no charge. There is still time for young artists to contact the Doña Ana Arts Council to find out how they can participate.
Faire-goers may want to commemorate the 48th year of this extremely popular local event by purchasing a Renaissance ArtsFaire t-shirt or a hand-made ceramic mug made by local potter Andrew Chapel. The t-shirts and mugs are decorated with the Renaissance ArtsFaire logo and will be available for sale at the Information Booth.
Dozens of food booths in two areas will ease the hunger and quench the thirst of faire-goers. Food and beverage purchases support local non-profit organizations and sports teams. Those who want to relax and sip an adult beverage or two can spend time in the Dragon’s Eye Tavern and sample Lescombes wine and local craft beers from area breweries such as High Desert Brewery, Picacho Peak Brewery, Spotted Dog Brewery, and Bosque Brewing Company.
Avoid parking at Young Park by taking advantage of The Royal Carriage — a free park and ride running between the southwest corner of the Mesilla Valley Mall and Young Park every 15 minutes. There is limited accessible parking onsite at the park and parking volunteers will be there maintaining order in their appointed realm.
The 48th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire is a bargain, with tickets only $10 per person and children 12 and under entering for free. Advance tickets are an even bigger bargain: $15 for two adults when purchased at any Pic Quik store or on-line at daarts.org. Make the weekend even more special by purchasing a VIP Pass: $80 includes a 2-person one day entry pass, access to the VIP tent at Queen Sherrie’s court, complimentary refreshments and up-front views of jousting, photo ops with the Queen and Jousters, and up-close preferred parking for one vehicle. For out-of-town guests, a New Mexico True VIP All Weekend Package is available through the Hotel Encanto. See www.HotelEncanto.com for details.
With 48 years of experience, the Doña Ana Arts Council’s Renaissance ArtsFaire is a proven family favorite. Head to Young Park November 2 and 3 for an immersive experience in days of yore. More information and advance tickets can be found online at www.daarts.org or by calling (575) 523-6403.