Renaissance Faire Brings Fun to Campus

Sara Platnick

Jugglers, blacksmiths and jousters made their appearance last weekend at the annual Renaissance Faire, a daylong source of entertainment hosted in front of Memorial Hall.

The Renaissance Faire, which is open to the entire Walla Walla community and free to attend, includes festivities such as Celtic dancers, storytellers and a fairy. Whitman clubs, including the Fencing Club, Juggling Club and River Rince performed throughout the day. Children can take part in face painting, jousting games and other activities.

It’s difficult to determine how many attend the event, but organizers estimate that at least 3,000 people attend.

“A lot of community members attend because it’s a kid friendly event, so people bring their families and spend the day there. We have food, we have entertainment all day, both the relaxing kind where you can sit back and watch a Celtic band and the active kind where you can learn Renaissance dancing or basic fencing moves,” said junior Haley Forrester, current Renaissance Faire co-president.

The Renaissance Faire has been held on campus for 47 years. It is one of the oldest student clubs on campus and almost one of the oldest faires in the Pacific Northwest.

“I am a theater and art double major, and this club is a great way for me to use both of my majors. I think Renaissance Faires are often seen as a dorky, nerdy club, or at least it’s portrayed that way in movies, but here we get the chance to put on a full-blown festival and it’s a chance to act and be in character all day so that’s great for me,” Forrester.

The Renaissance Faire club begins planning the event in January. They are in charge of making sure that logistics are settled and organize the entertainers and merchants who will be at the faire. Many students join the club after their first year because they enjoyed the faire so much that they decide to join the next year.

“I didn’t join freshman year… but then I went to the faire in the spring, which is how a lot of people join the club. They go their first year and think, ‘wow, this is awesome, I want to get involved,’ and I recall that I walked over at 10:30 and was glued to the blacksmith all day, I just thought it was really cool, and then I went to their meeting the next year and was really excited about the entire thing,” said junior Robby Brothers, Renaissance Faire co-president.

To promote the faire, students the day before wore Renaissance costumes as a visual way to spread the word about the event and to encourage people to come. The club also promoted the event online, creating a Facebook event that has been viewed over 14,000 times.  

“I hope people have fun and are entertained. We don’t really try to attach a message to this event. We aren’t telling people, ‘let’s go back to the good ole’ days without the internet and toilets.’ No, we are just a bunch of college kids who think it’s fun to put this together for the community,” said sophomore Erin Minus, entertainment chair.