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Renaissance comes to town

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun Sir Haven, current U.S. Jousting Champion, unseats Sir Shanton, seven-time world champion, in McIver Arena during a joust at last year's Truckee Renaissance Faire.
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Truckee is about to be transported back in time nearly 450 years.The second annual Truckee Renaissance Faire will be at Truckee River Regional Park on Sept. 17 and 18. The park will be transformed to a place where royalty rules, duels are lost to the tip of a blade, and arts and culture are at the height of the century.”My favorite thought about the Renaissance fair, for adults especially, is that it’s recess,” said Sandy Horn, the Truckee resident responsible for the fair’s inception. “Leave the cell phone in the car and walk into a new experience … You can step out of the here and now, and be in a completely different time and place. It’s an opportunity to learn something amongst the fun.”At this year’s faire visitors will be entertained by jousters, jugglers and belly-dancers, to name a few. There will be costume vendors, sword fights, archery lessons, and live music. In all, more than 50 entertainers, vendors, and guilds will be in attendance to celebrate of one of history’s most influential eras.There will be plenty to choose from, including costumes and accessories for belly-dancers, authentic period costumes, Celtic jewelry, and a plethora of medieval weaponry.Truckee merchant and life-long seamstress Darla Hitchcock, who opened her store Dolls Gone Wrong in June, will present her hand-sewn period costumes this weekend.

Hitchcock said she went to her first Renaissance faire when she was in high school in 1977, “and just fell in love with it.” “I have always been a bit of a history nerd anyway. I went to fashion school and after deciding I didn’t want to be a part of the industry, I started selling costumes at the fairies,” she said. “Modern clothes conform to our bodies, but clothing then conformed the body itself to that era’s image of what beauty was; for women that was a V-shape from the shoulders to the waist.” Hitchcock, who has been sewing for decades, says a single woman’s period dress can take her up to ten hours to make, which is a very fast time, and can require 12 yards of fabric. Those gowns, with their bodices and multiple layers might look hot and uncomfortable, but according to Hitchcock, Europe in the 1500s experienced a sort of mini-ice age that brought average temperatures to 40 degrees cooler than what they are today.James Colgate, an avid bladesmith, fencer, and fight choreographer, who left his job as a mechanical engineer to start his company New Stirling Arms with his partner Tina Bailey, will be selling his wares too. Visitors who stop by their booth will be able to find trebuchets and training swords, get a good lesson on history, and have some fun catapulting peanuts, Bailey said. Why the Renaissance?

Renaissance, a French word meaning “rebirth,” describes the changes that occurred in Europe, mostly in France, Italy, and England, from the 14th through 16th centuries. It was at that time that the nations of Europe came out of the plague-ridden Middle Ages and experienced artistic, political, social and economic growth. Scientific discoveries and the emergence of new art forms brought with them an optimism that had been lacking in the previous century.The time period for the Truckee Renaissance Faire is set in the early 1560s and is focused around Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots, the main character in the event’s queen’s court, Horn said. During that period she was traveling across Scotland to meet her people, but after that time, there was political and social upheaval in the nation, forcing her to abdicate the throne, according to Horn. Visitors won’t find any Shakespearean performances at the festival because of the time period in which the event is set. The Bard hadn’t been born yet.More than 3,000 people attended last year’s fair, and Horn said she hopes to double that this year. The biggest addition to the performance calendar will be a concert on Saturday evening by “Tempest,” a Celtic rock band from the Bay Area. Dinner for the first 400 attendees will be served by the Truckee Optimists for an additional charge.Proceeds from the Renaissance fair will go to Truckee schools to promote historical and social studies programs.



CHECK IT OUTTruckee Renaissance Faire• Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.• General admission to fair only Adults: $10; students ages 6-18: $5; free for children under 6• Saturday evening’s events (includes faire entrance, concert and dinner): $30; concert only (no faire entrance): $20• Go to http://www.truckeerenfaire.org


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