Rennies may not be as well known as Trekkies but they are equally as devoted to what they follow. Rennies are renaissance festival followers who have opportunities to attend festivals all year round.
B.C. Renaissance Festival organizer Christina Carr says almost 80 renaissance festivals are held throughout North America annually.
“Florida, for example, has five festivals throughout the year,” she says.
Running August 15 to 17, Rennies will descend on Maple Ridge at the Albion Fairgrounds for the annual B.C. festival.
For the first time in eight years, the group has changed their B.C. location. For many years, Carr says, the festival was held in Langley but when a change had to be considered, Maple Ridge seemed like the perfect option.
“We were told Maple Ridge is starting to have a great reputation as the town for fairs and festivals,” says Carr.
She explains her group, which includes a cast of pirates, villagers, royalty, gypsies and jugglers, is looking forward to using the fairgrounds as it will allow for ample space when the jousting games begin.
Defined as a fight between mounted knights wearing armor and using lances, jousting was considered to be a favorite form of entertainment during the Middle Ages. Jousting, which could incorporate several forms of combat, was meant to keep knights in excellent condition for those times when war was at stake.
The Clydesdales Carr’s group utilize for their festival are trained humanely and as proficient drill teams. They are her group’s breed of choice because they are so well trained.
“A horse could bolt (under these circumstances) if not properly trained,” explains Carr.
Besides scheduled events, the festival incorporates scripted as well as unscripted roaming actors who engage audience members in unplanned antics. No matter what role they play, however, all renaissance festival cast members have one thing in common:
“We’re always looking at what we can hide in the script so kids don’t know they’ve learned something.”
Carr, for example, plays a female pirate captain who was supposedly left to die alone on a remote island until a pirate crew came and rescued her.
According to Carr, many female pirates sailed the seas and many of them were actually in charge of their ships.
“One of the things we want to teach kids is women can be, and often were, in charge.”
The weekend’s schedule includes jousting competitions, mounted games, pub sing-alongs, a special ceremony for the king’s arrival and scheduled performances. In addition, the festival offers an extensive concession area as well as games such as archery practice and rides for children.
Tickets will be available at the gate or online at bcrenfest.com.