Knights & Pirates & Ale...oh yeah
A tankard of ale, the clash of steel, sounds of singing and music, and plenty of whimsy will once again be the fun du jour in the tree-lined back area of the Clackamas County Event Center come June.
The Oregon Renaissance Faire returns for its fourth act in Canby and judging by the crowds that have turned out the first three years – rain or shine -- things should be plenty entertaining once again in the Vale of Dunrose as the festival spans two weekends.
Tracy Nietupski, operations manager for the Oregon Renaissance Faire, continues to extol the virtues of Canby as a destination for this festival, saying, "Canby has been amazing. The local people have been very nice and everyone has welcomed us. We feel like family down there, like we're coming home."
Shana Casey, marketing director, agreed, "It's our fourth year and it's very exciting. Canby has been so welcoming to us."
This year's faire will run June 8-9 and 15-16, and come with specific themes for the weekends.
"A Scottish Celebration: A Gathering of Clans," will be the focus of the June 8-9 weekend, offering fair-goers a chance to break out their kilts, show off those knees and join a true celebration of the mighty Scots and Her Majesty, Mary, Queen of Scots.
A week later, June 15-16, the theme will be "Swashbuckler's Weekend: A Pirate's Invasion!" This event will kick off the organization's new Pirate Festival in July (in Lacey, Wash.) with an early look that's designed to get the inner pirate in all of us sailing. Music, food, dancing and more will fuel this event.
"A typical pirate fair is kind of a street fair or Saturday market that's usually held near the water," said Casey. "But ours won't be like that. Ours will be a renaissance fair that is completely pirate themed. We'll build a pirate town and there will be shows and shenanigans going on all over the place. It will be a lot of fun."
While there's plenty for adults to do at the ORF, the event has plenty of kid fun, too. Robin Hood and Maid Marian will be on hand, as well as giant rocking horses, pony rides, puppets, and The Dragon Adventure will also return.
"Five little Dragons have come to visit the Vale of Dunrose! Orfie, Blaze, Soot, Wheezy, and Snort were on their way to visit Her Majesty, Mary Queen of Scots, but found themselves lost along the way. Explore and discover the fun and excitement of the Oregon Renaissance Faire as you help us find all five of the lost little Dragons." Completely free to play, children search for the five small plastic dragons amongst the faire.
"When they find a dragon, they have mom or dad snap a photo of them and the found dragon and post to Facebook or other social media sites with the hashtag #ORF2019," said Nietupski.
Once they've found all five little dragons and posted the portraits, the kids can get a prize at Her Majesty's Favour – Treasures, Trinkets and Souvenirs.
It's an added little thing to help create the family fun atmosphere the faire wants to create.
The event features more than 500 costumed performers and contributors dressed in period costume, as well as large numbers of attendees doing the same. The goal is to put on a family-friendly event and that wearing shorts and t-shirts are quite all right. It's about fun and learning more about a remarkable time in Scottish history through sight, sound and getting involved a bit.
So, when Mary Queen of Scots and her retinue arrive in the Vale in the year 1536, there will be plenty to experience -- music, magicians, stage shows, jousting, merchants, food and drink for all ages, including adults. The Cat and Fiddle Pub will have its bar wenches serving cider, ale and mead.
New this year will be Lynx – Daredevil of Oddiities, who will swallow swords and work some magic. Also on tap for the first time is Cirque du Sewer, which features acrobatics with trained cats and rats, as well as several other new acts to enjoy.
This year's event will feature more of everything – more than 40 unique vendors, eight food vendors, two pubs, entertainment, and plenty of fun in-between.
In three years, the festival has grown substantially, totally more than 11,000 visitors over two weekends last year. A year ago the festival needed to use overflow parking and saw parking on the nearby residential streets. What that means, said Casey, is the Oregon Renaissance Faire may soon need to expand.
"Within two years we are hoping to grow to a bigger spot, hopefully in the vicinity or even in this same spot," Casey said. "We are going to outgrow our current spot, but we love this community and it's not easy to find a new place to go. The Oregon folks were hungry for a renaissance festival and we are so excited to be growing in Oregon like we are."
The faire is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. More information and tickets are available on the website at www.oregonfaire.com.
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