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Ren Faire

The Renaissance Faire is a very special time of year. Tony Estes, a vendor at the Tech Ren Faire,  says, “People get to be themselves or get to be someone else for the day, it’s what I like about Comic-Con too.” After seeing the scale of the 14th Annual Santa Fe Renaissance Faire in Santa Fe, it’s apparent that this is exactly the case. Of the three thousand attendees, at least half of those present came as pirates, knights, and faeries. Tech’s Ren Faire, was of course, small by comparison. However, it was still packed dense with humans, elves, and potential.

Santa Fe’s Ren Faire has four key components that give it the atmosphere that brings in three thousand people yearly: the vendors, the activities, the performances, and the attendees. Much like a good librarian, half of the vendor’s job is to sell goods and maintain shops, whereas the other half is simply to complete the atmosphere, and with historic clothes, swords, and flavored potions, they fill this role perfectly. The hustle and bustle of the medieval market beckons you, and the sounds of music fill the air. On the subject of music, the right music makes the experience. Santa Fe was packed with the constant thrum of lutes and hand drums, as bards sang and received tips in abundance. Other performances included classical circus, jousting, and sword fighting. But you didn’t have to only watch, some booths invite you to try sword fighting or another craft. And of course, the center of it all is the guests, not only to create the hustle and bustle, but to come in costume, creating the fantasy of it all. And this fantasy is what makes the Santa Fe Ren Faire so successful.

 D. Rains

Tech’s Ren Faire, though much smaller in scale, did see some notable successes in these aspects, however it also had much room for improvement. Many of the people attending, despite the size, came dressed in costume, bringing the adventure and the fantasy here. It also succeeded somewhat in the vendors, bringing an impressive number of booths despite the short notice, selling both Renaissance and unrelated goods. With a longsword sparring demo and some pool noodle weapons, it seems complete. However, almost every person I spoke to wanted more events, especially events targeted towards adults. Ayden Kakaros, who demonstrated the longsword fighting, suggested contests, to include javelin throwing. Another option takes inspiration from the Santa Fe Faire to suggest experiential booths, such as fighting with wooden swords or crafting chainmail. These events could be put on by students or clubs, creating an opportunity for more involvement by the student body. As well, students could perform live music, allowing those students who play more niche instruments to perform and potentially meet other musicians of a similar style.

All in all Tech’s Ren Faire can be called an excellent first draft. Of course, improvements need to be made, and the ambiance can be fleshed out as students bring music and events. However, the engagement from students and community was significantly greater than expected, both in volume of people and level of involvement by each person, demonstrating a desire for the event to continue and grow. And while Tech may never reach the scale of the Santa Fe Ren Faire, it’s possible that Tech could create that ambiance, giving students good time, food and drink, and stories that sound like something out of their Friday night D&D campaign

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