Faire thee well: Renaissance is coming to island

At last, the Whidbey Ren Faire is coming to put an end to the island’s dark ages of yearning for the jousting of valiant knights, the allure of mysterious sorceresses, the proof that unicorns exist and flavors from the days of old.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds and Events Center on South Whidbey. The theme, according to President and Founder Arielle Morgan, is medieval fantasy, so patrons are encouraged to dress accordingly.

The fair has been in the works for over a year, Morgan said, and has been entirely put together by volunteers. Several thousand patrons will be in attendance and can relish a remarkably long list of activities, performances, merchants and food selections.

News of Whidbey’s Renaissance fair debut traveled as far as Europe, earning the intrigue of Philip II, King of Spain, and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, both of whom are currently on their way to the New World.

The celebrations will feature dancers, a juggler and magician, a ventriloquist, madrigals, various live music shows including the sound of a hurdy-gurdy (a stringed instrument), all during multiple times throughout the festival.

Among a variety of armored combat performances one can find the illustrious Seattle Knights, a swordfighting and jousting theatrical troupe that will perform at noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Whether they loved or hated studying Shakespeare in school, patrons might enjoy the short and dumbed-down version of his plays — “Fakespeare” — brought by comedian Patrick Hercamp and performed at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Coupeville Glee Club will perform at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Whidbey Island Pony Club will also make an appearance at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The fair can also be a learning opportunity for history enthusiasts, offering workshops in swordplay, archery and even historical cooking.

The Mutiny Mermaid Pod will partake in this history and fantasy extravaganza, lounging as they observe the bizarre nature of the terrestrial world and pose for photos. At the same time, patrons might find a dragon’s lair, a Viking ship and even a unicorn.

Merchants from Whidbey and beyond will bring the feeling of roaming around a market in a medieval village, and will include the Whidbey Island Fairies’ tiny and whimsical handmade fae dolls, fairy-tale jewelry from creators like Witch Hazel Collective and Aunty Monstera, local fantasy author Eldrich Black, natural remedies by Mad Scientist Apothecary and many more.

Craft beer, turkey legs, meat pies, hot dogs, shaved ice, you name it, will be on the menu as well. Morgan recommends patrons to keep an eye out for the quests, which lead to a prize.

The event has been entirely put together by volunteers. The organization counts over 60 volunteers, with many others volunteering for a few shifts, but there are over 500 slots to fill and more volunteers are welcome to join by signing up through the fair’s website.

Whidbey Island SeaTac Shuttle is also providing two shuttles, free of charge, to patrons who were unable to park in the main parking area and parked their cars in the South Whidbey School District’s parking areas.

Several thousand people will be participating, according to Morgan, and tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Children aged 5 and under are free of charge, while anyone older enters for $28.

To sign up, purchase tickets or learn more, visitwhidbeyislandrenfaire.org.

Photo provided
Ren Faire volunteers work on the set.

Photo provided Ren Faire volunteers work on the set.