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Alnisa/ Robin
The Gilded Serpent presents...
T
he Tale of Two Faires
This fall of 2002, in the San Francisco Bay Area we had two competing renaissance faires. "Ren Faires" have been a common place for belly dancers to perform and attract students. It's another place that they could cavort in costume whether or not they were a hired participant or simply one of the paying fairgoers. There always seemed to be alot of competition and rumours associated with it. Who was doing it right as far as authenticity or ability to entertain? It seemed that whoever the troupe was that was there in any year reflected on the rest of us. It seemed that the ren faire we all knew in Black Point, Novato, kept changing producers and locations. Now their were two ren faires!

Alnisa, whose family is on staff with Renaissance Entertainment Corporation, helped me sort through my confusion at a teacher's meeting one day. I asked her to write a brief history synopsis to clear the confusion for all.

Gennevie, a long time faire participant and a former student, had now become a booth owner. She consented to give me her report on the fair in Casa De Fruta. She also shared with us her father's (Eric Heberson) pictures from the event.

Mark Bell worked both faires this year and generously supplied his impressions as a musician at the Novato fair. He and his wife Elizabeth, (who just changed her name to Ling Shien) have worked with Hahbi' Ru for a long time and has been part of the music scene in the Bay Area forever (watch for his interveiw coming soon as the newest addition to our North Beach Memories.)

The Novato fair was close to my home so I was able to glean pictures from this event myself. Below we start with Alnisa and then we link to reports and photos from each fair.- Editor.

A Brief History of
the Renaissance Pleasure Faire
by Alnisa

In 1963, Phyllis Patterson produced the first Renaissance Faire in the United States. She was teaching school in Laurel Canyon (in Southern California) and the event was held to make use of the Comedia wagon her students had built. A small affair to begin with, it quickly grew and in 1967 a Renaissance Faire was held in Northern Calififornia. The early years were in China Camp in Marin County, later moving to Blackpoint Forest in Novato, Calif.

Financial difficulties forced the sale of that company to the Renaissance Entertainment Corporation in 1994..- Even though the land at Blackpoint had been sold previously, a few more “Farewell to Blackpoint" Faires were held. As the land was developed into a golf course, and now homes, the Renaissance Pleasure Faire moved to the site of the Nut Tree in Vacaville. After 3 years (once again due to developers) the Faire has moved to the Casa de Fruta outside of Gilroy. REC has continued to produce the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire as well as Faires in Wisconsin and New York.

After leaving management of the California Faires for REC, Kevin Patterson (one of Phyllis' two sons) and his wife Leslie formed As You Like It Productions. That company has brought the much-loved Dickens' Christmas Fair to the Cow Palace in San Francisco. They have also produced a Renaissance Faire outside of Santa Barbara for the last three years and this year for the first time they returned the Faire to Novato with the "Forest Faire" at Stafford Lake.

The Tale of Two Faires continues:

 
 
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