Camp Richardson goes back in time with Renaissance Faire |

Camp Richardson goes back in time with Renaissance Faire

LJ. Bottjer


Under the deep canopy of trees of Camp Richardson’s woods, the bubbling of excitement is audible.

This Saturday, June 4, the 19th annual Valhalla Renaissance Faire brings the majesty of an Elizabethan court to South Lake Tahoe for a two-weekend run.

Brave knights and fair damsels along with jugglers, conjurers and an explorer and a poet or two are just a few of the entertainers who will transport visitors to the latter part of 16th and early 17th centuries. Joining them on the first weekend is a gathering of wizards, faeries and elves and mythical creatures just for the children.

Scavenger hunts will be launched and jousts performed while archery, the making of beeswax candles and Tarot card readings can be obtained.

Shakespeare will walk among the crowd. Those still harboring bad high school memories of the Bard are urged to banish them and join the fun. Mischievousness will follow his impish comedic character, Puck; from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as his attempts at matchmaking require the repair work by Oberon, King of the Faeries.

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All are invited to come in costume and in the spirit of the merriment contests will be held. Should one enter with only 21st century garb there is no need of worry for period clothing, footwear with accessorizing jewelry and a weapon or two are available for sale or rental from faire vendors.

All gather at the pleasure of the queen.

For those ignorant of how to address the rather saucy sovereign a simple “Your Majesty” or “M’am”, to rhyme with ham is sufficient.

Deborah Doyle has reigned as Queen Elizabeth I for more than a decade.

She finds the woman, known by such monikers are “Good Queen Bess” and the “Virgin Queen,” to be a fascinating figure and sees similarities between today and the Renaissance.

“They were discovering new worlds as we discovering new items on the Internet,” Doyle said. “Today, we are also rediscovering old ways that work like homeopathic medicines.”

Working for the San Francisco Library, valuing knowledge a task she uses on and off the job especially when sharing knowledge with children.

“If we engage them with the 16th century history, they will have that sensibility as they grow,” she said.

Some young participants are so taken by her character they follow her exclusively as she moves among the masses, in a 45-pound, multi-layered costume. One young boy promised, like true explorers, to go on a quest for her. Badgering his parents for a return visit the next day he regaled her with his imaginary adventure of pluck and fortitude.

Appreciation for the past remains a key at the Renaissance Faire. Unlike the drunken bacchanalia similar type entertainments can be, VRF’s producer Marti Miernik assures, “It is not all about boobs and beer.”

While alcohol sales do benefit local charities, the emphasis is on family fun and accuracy.

Costumes, such as Doyle’s, have real jewels and a concentration on the period’s culture and arts are well researched. At the Children’s Court the lives of courtiers and ladies-in waiting are taught in great detail.

The forest locale’s lack of 21st century vehicles and sounds, according to Doyle, “adds to the willingness to believe” to time travelers without a machine.