As the 16th Annual Northern California Renaissance Faire comes to a close at Casa de Fruta the question remains, who are the people behind the costumes?
The faire is “a playful cast of Medieval characters and craftsman to entertain and inform visitors in a magical living history event,” said Gene Zanger of Casa de Fruta.
From walking through the open doorways to watching knights jousting in action, visitors were able to step into the past, thanks to volunteers and paid employees who for six weekends bring the Renaissance Faire to life.
So just who are these individuals?
Robert Isenberg of Altadena started working at the Renaissance Faire 28 years ago after “chasing a girl.” While the relationship did not work out, Isenberg’s passion for the event has continued. Today he is known at the event as Sir John Perrot, who is part of the Queen’s Court.
“It’s an addiction,” Isenberg said. “I like meeting people, talking to them, and imparting a little bit of history.”
Isenberg also continues with the faire because of the bonds created with other participants, who get together after hours to hang out, break bread and dance.
“I meet a lot of talented people here and am honored to be part of this group as a whole,” he said.
Mandy Williams of Los Angeles joined the event after a friend asked her to become part of “The Dirty Laundry Show” at the local faire.
Williams, originally from England, moved to the United States to be a dancer at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “I love to perform,” she said. “I love that we have such a great connection with the audience.”
For Williams, the Renaissance Faire is about more than performing. She said the more years she is involved, the more the faire feels like a family homecoming.
“You make lovely connections,” Williams said. “At the Renaissance Faire everybody looks out for each other and helps each other. I wish it was like that in the real world.”
Raised in Hollister and currently a resident of Los Banos, Elizabeth Guerrero has volunteered at the event for 10 years.
“It’s a family affair,” Guerrero said. “My granddaughter has been coming since she was one year old and she now works in the petting zoo. My son works next door at the cyclops.”
Originally starting out in the kitchen making turkey legs, Guerrero now runs the Fool's Maze. Asked about her favorite part of working this, she said she enjoys getting to interact with guests and seeing smiles on kids’ faces as they enter and exit the maze.
Another volunteer who has made the Renaissance Faire a family event is Jeremy Cline of Gilroy. Kline was a first-time volunteer this year with his wife and three children.
He works at the registration booth for medieval crafts, such as leather working, and participates in “hawking,” which he described as walking through the event talking to people and sword fighting with kids while in character.
“You get to play a different person,” Cline said. “I’m not a project manager here. This is a place to not be real, but to be fun. You can be whoever you want.”
As the faire was coming to a close, Guerrero summed up her feelings about the annual event saying, "It’s the end so it’s sad because it’s over. After this we go back to reality.”
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