Renaissance club brings medieval England to Whitman

Aleida Fernandez

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The Faire's blacksmith creates a sword for onlookers. Photos by Fernandez

On Saturday, April 28, Whitman’s Renaissance Faire Club transported the community back to merry old England in Shallotshire. The club’s annual event took place on Memorial Lawn with student and faculty dressed in Renaissance costumes, participating in Shakespearean plays and the event’s most popular event, unicycle jousting.

Junior Alex Kerl, the club’s director of publicity, has been involved in the Renaissance Faire Club for three years. Kerl originally got involved in the club because she had been to a couple of Renaissance Faires in high school and thought it would be an interesting club to get involved in at Whitman. Compared to other years, Kerl felt that this year’s turnout was similar to other years.

“We usually have a decent crowd come in from Walla Walla, as it is Alumni weekend we also have that group,” she said. “People from Whitman usually come through and end up getting sucked in as well.”

According to Faire Chair, senior Sam Schonfield, the club has generated extra interest within the Whitman community, recruiting more active members than in past years.

“We have a really good group this year. . . [and] more participation than most years,” said Schonfield in an email. “This is due to the huge interest from the freshman class; we have 11 freshmen in the club this year.”

The Faire lacked its usual magician and regular bard James Funke, who was replaced by the Maypole Bards, but a maze was introduced for those younger and shorter members of the community. Schonfield conceded, however, that you needed to be less than four feet tall to fully appreciate it.

First-year Emma Dahl was pleasantly surprised by this year’s Faire.

“I’d never been to a Renaissance Faire before, and I thought it’d be a lot of fun,” she said. “I really liked the blacksmith. He’s really cool.”

The boffing tournament––mock combat with foam pvc swords and one of the Faire’s most popular events––also saw changes from previous years. The tournament, along with the unicycle jousting, rewarded its winners with a whole cake from Safeway as a reward for their bravery and skill.

This year’s king was Tim Machonkin, professor of chemistry. As king, Machonkn’s general responsibilities included acting drunk from hallucinogenic ale in the three-act play performed throughout the day and wandering around the Faire acting deranged.

“[Being king] is pretty funny,” said Machonkin. “It’s a good time.”

Those who wish to participate in next year’s Faire should contact Schonfield at [email protected]

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