The Hippo


Jul 22, 2019








Visitors join in a traditional dance around the maypole at the NH Renaissance Faire. Courtesy

New Hampshire Renaissance Faire

When: Saturdays and Sundays, May 7, May 8, May 14 and May 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: 9 Thorne Road, Kingston
Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for active military or veterans, $8 for kids ages 5 to 12, free for children 4 and younger. Proceeds benefit NH Food Bank and Rockingham Meals on Wheels.

Days of old
Jousting, dragons and more at the Renaissance Faire

By Angie Sykeny

 ‘Tis the time of year when knights, nobles, minstrels and royals gather in Kingston for the New Hampshire Renaissance Faire. For two weekends — Saturdays and Sundays, May 7, May 8, May 14 and May 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — fair manager Marghi Bean will once again lend her 35-acre property as a medieval village, with period music and theater performances, merchants and craftsmen at work, jousting demonstrations and more. 

“It’s going to be a great year,” Bean said. “It’s not terribly big. It’s smaller than King Richard’s, but it’s a nice fair and the property really feels like you’re out in a medieval village in the woods. 
New this year is an expanded children’s area with a storyteller, added games, crafts, face-painting, a Jacob’s Ladder and educational demonstrations. As always, young ladies will have the chance to have tea with the Queen, and young pages can be knighted by the Queen’s knights. 
Even outside the children’s area, the fair is family-friendly, which Bean said isn’t always easy to uphold at a Renaissance fair.
“The humor of the 1400s and 1500s can be very bawdy, but we’ve decided not to do any of that,” she said. “A lot of Renaissance fairs do, so we make sure everyone who works and performs here knows that this is a family fair and to keep the entertainment family-friendly.” 
Kids and adults can also participate in activities like traditional maypole dancing, belly dancing lessons and archery with guidance from instructors. 
Actors, dancers and musicians will perform throughout the day, some in a wandering or improvisational style, others in scheduled performances held at several small stage areas and the main Queen’s stage. This year’s fair will be the first to utilize the rebuilt Queen’s stage, which now includes a backstage area to allow for more complex performances. 
Some of the entertainment featured includes educational historical theater, fiddle, harp and a capella music, musical comedy and interactive comedy acts, recited poetry, belly dancing and more. Also, Zoo Creatures of Plaistow will make their debut at the fair with real-life dragons and fun tidbits about reptiles. 
Throughout the day in the backfield, knights will be showcasing their armor and weapons, how they prepare for battle and how they fight. Then, at scheduled times, skilled knights will face off in a demonstration jousting match. 
“The whole rest of the fairgrounds is always empty when the knights are fighting and jousting,” Bean said. “A lot of people come just for that.  And as a teaching thing, well, you never get that out of a history book. They make it interesting to learn.”
There will be plenty of opportunities for shopping among the 65 merchants stationed around the fair. Food vendors will have regular lunch items like hot dogs, soups and sandwiches; ice cream, cotton candy, popcorn and other snacks; and of course, the Renaissance fair favorite, jumbo turkey legs. Other merchants will be selling a wide selection of wares, including clothing, costume accessories and props, leather goods, jewelry, herbal products, pottery, artwork, chainmail items and more. Service vendors will be offering tarot readings, face painting, henna art and hair braiding, and a handful of fantasy authors will be onsite selling and signing their books. Finally, craftsmen will be doing demonstrations of their weaving, blacksmithing, wood burning and letterpressing. 
Bean said a lot of people arrive at the fair in costume, ready to immerse themselves in the imaginary village. 
“Everyone is on the same page [with the fact that] it’s a Renaissance fair and it’s a fantasy type of setting,” she said. “I think of it as theater-in-the-round … and if you can think of it that way, you can really get in the mood. You get pulled into it, and you become part of the chorus.”  

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu