Renaissance Faire provides a taste of all things good
The Valhalla Renaissance Faire resumes its second weekend on Saturday and Sunday, taking visitors back to a time of fun, frolic and a lyrical period meant to rejoice the harvest of life.
And that’s only part of the story for the old Elizabethan culture.
The men of the 16th century had more on their mind, and the scenario at the festival reflects that. Women, wine and song became the order of the day and the time. One could argue Elizabethans simply celebrated life. The average life span lasted only through the mid 30s.
“All the way around they celebrated the hardships with the turbulence of war,” faire organizer Bill Waters said, while touring the grounds this week.
For good reason, most consider England as a place to partake of beer. It was thought one could live on the grain of bread and the barley of ale.
Beer turned out to be cleaner than the water. But the Queen of England and all her regalia brought a cultured element to society. Wine flows from goblets and is so enacted at Renaissance faires across the nation.
The idea of the song with the wine comes from the poetic ramblings of the language, Waters added. It is not necessarily borne out of the arrival of opera.
“Opera doesn’t come but a 100 years from then,” he said.
People’s hearts poured from song.
Women dressed in tight, revealing dresses made for an easier way to get through the hardships for most men of the era.
“The thought was it’s a hard life. You may as well live well,” Waters said. At the time, love was more of fantasy than a realization of the functional day-to-day activities of an arrangement such as marriage. Marriage provided more of a business contract than anything else.
“They were in love with the ideals. You had more secret love. This became the notion of the knight off on a grand adventure for a young maiden,” he said.
David Davis, a volunteer with the South Shore’s faire, characterized the destined combination of women, wine and song as “all things pleasurable in life. That they bring warmth to the heart and smile to the eye.” The Sonora man has attended the festivals since 1981.
Julie Early of South Lake Tahoe provided a much simpler answer.
“They just want to have a good time,” she said.