This weekend history will roll into town as the nexStage Theatre presents its fourth annual Sun Valley Renaissance Faire. Saturday and Sunday the Sun Valley Festival Meadow will be filed with characters from days of old, frolicking in the sun and feasting throughout the weekend.
An old-fashioned parade, beginning at the nexStage Theatre, will kick off the weekend on Saturday. Starting at 10 a.m. follow the frills to the front where you'll see the faire's King and Queen, realtor and arts advocate Sherry Daech and local historian and comedic actor Chris Millspaugh.
Suitable for the whole family, this weekend of medieval pageantry, music, drama, comedy and dance will feature Seattle-based equestrian performance troupe, The Seattle Knights, alongside actors, jesters, jugglers, maypole dancers, bagpipers, fiddlers, Celtic dancers, fencing and medieval combat groups, a Punch and Judy show and a medieval farm. A new addition is an archery range offering lessons in bow skills for all ages and an archery contest for both novice and expert archers each day at 3 p.m.
A host of artisans will also be on hand selling everything from hand-made jewelry, pottery and stoneware to leather goods, feathered hats and medieval weaponry.
Heyoka Merrifield, a jeweler and shaman, will be among the artisans. Heyoka feels his jewelry harkens back to the way art was viewed by ancient cultures: "a sacred thing, not a commodity," he said.
"At one time, all jewelry had a purpose—to protect, to heal, to bring in certain powers of the different animals, different gods and goddesses."
His work features a unique style that blends figures cut from sheets of gold and silver with precious stones. A former resident of Sun Valley, he now makes his home in Montana's Bitterroot Valley. His work can be found year-round at the Golden Door Gallery in Ketchum.
Old fashioned grub will be on hand throughout the weekend. The roasted meats, tasty pies, country ale and sweet meats commonly associated with the medieval lifestyle of hearty feasting and simple country merriment will be on offer for $25, including wine. Simpler fare will also be available including English bangers, corn and cheese on trencher bread. English biscuits, candy apples, ice cream and lemonade. Trail Creek Public House will have cool beer on tap, as well as root beer.
Entertainment will be provided by the Renaissance Players, The Greenwood Players from Boise and nexStage's "Shakespearean Dudes," who will all perform impromptu skits and spoofs throughout the weekend.
Folk Dancers from Footlight and Art of Dance will perform a skilled sword dance. Musicians featured include Ellen Mindell, who will offer a Renaissance music workshop performance on stage, featuring a group of youngsters, many of whom took part in the Summer Symphony this year.
Celtic Fire, a duo from Southern Idaho, will play on Saturday, together with Irish dancers and Scottish Bagpipers from Boise. Local music maestro Ron Wade will take to the stage with dancer Anna Lee. Ron Wade's students from across Southern Idaho will accompany him as wandering minstrels.
A water balloon catapult game will be added to the growing list of amusements this year, as well as a "Photo Obscura," an opportunity to be caught on film in Renaissance garb. This year's fighting arena will feature Belegarth medieval fighters as well as demonstrations of fencing and games of skill for active youths.
Younger audiences can try their hands at the children's carnival games.
Faire participants will be in medieval costume, and visitors to the faire will receive a $1 discount on tickets if they are too.
This weekend celebration of the of the life and times of William Shakespeare has been growing in popularity and success, and, with this year's, stellar line up of festivities it is not to be missed. So be sure to swing by and take a step back in time.
Fun at the faire
The Faire is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug, 27. Entrance is free for children under 14, $5 for seniors and students, $8 for adults, with a special family price of $10 for two adults accompanying children. For further details call 720-4298 or 726-9124.