Turkey leg and puffed garment fanatics, the yearning is finally over. Nine years after the island’s first ever Renaissance fair, fairies, pirates and knights shall once again taketh Whidbey to a diff’rent timeth.
This will be the first Ren Faire for Oak Harbor resident Arielle Morgan, who is organizing the event that has been tentatively scheduled for May 25-26, 2024 — Memorial Day weekend — at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds and Events Center on South Whidbey.
Morgan, who always wanted to experience a Renaissance fair but never could due to the commute, decided to take the matter into her own hands and bring the magic back to the island.
Last spring, she asked Facebook users if they would be interested in a Renaissance fair on Whidbey. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and people’s excitement gave Morgan the determination to giveth the people what they want.
“I can’t let these people down,” she remembered thinking to herself.
Whidbey had a one-time Renaissance fair in July 2015 at Greenbank Farm. Morgan said she intends for this renewed event to become an annual reoccurrence.
To Morgan, who used to plan events as a former active duty military member, the event is also a chance to get more involved with the community and to support local businesses and artists while also bringing different communities together.
“I wanted to highlight the talented people that we have on the island,” she said, “but I love that we can get our neighboring communities involved as well.”
Fair organizers are hoping to include Weirdbey Island author Eldritch Black, the Whidbey Island Sirens Pod, the Whidbey Island Pirates, the Whidbey Community Chorus, characters who interact with the public, a royal court with Mary Queen of Scots and a unicorn.
There will also be a mix of Renaissance-themed and modern foods with “as many local vendors as possible,” a tavern and quests for visitors. Morgan said they are hoping to include the Seattle Knights (a theatrical troupe that does sword fighting and jousting), workshops, an archery and ax-throwing range, braiders and face painters.
The theme for both days will be “fantasy.” The event is open to visitors of all ages and will include areas for kids.
Morgan believes Whidbey is the right setting for a Renaissance fair and is excited to see people showing off their creativity.
“We have a lot of nerdy and geeky people here who enjoy getting dressed up,” she said about Whidbey.
Morgan is putting the event together with a team of about 40 people that keeps growing every day.
To fund the event, organizers have been holding fundraising events, accepting donations and looking for sponsors, and they plan to sell merch and presale tickets.
Earlier in August, they held a yard sale dressed up as pirates, received a donation from the Coupeville Museum and are planning more events, like the Harvest Moon Market that is scheduled for Oct. 14 in Oak Harbor.
Morgan is grateful for all the support the event has been receiving.
“Without community involvement we wouldn’t be where we’re at, at all,” she said.