Time travel: Renaissance Faire takes guests to 1500s

July 2010 Posted in Arts, Culture & History

Musicians will perform at the Canterbury Renaissance Faire near SilvertonBy Kristine Thomas

In her quest to recreate Canterbury, Nancy White has slain blackberry bramble, fought fire-breathing burn piles and summoned knights and fair maidens from near and far.

The owner of Whitewind Farm Horse Training in Silverton, White has been a professional horse trainer and riding instructor for 34 years.

Thanks to her daughter, Abigail, she can now add event planner to her resume.

Along with her family and friends, White is planning the second annual Canterbury Renaissance Faire July 17-18 and July 24-25 in Silverton.

Her love of Renaissance fairs began when Abigail invited her to attend one. From that moment White was enchanted.

“I love the music, the horses and seeing the jousting,” White said. “I like seeing and wearing the Renaissance garb and meeting the people.”

For several years, White had the idea to host a Renaissance fair in Silverton. She and her sister, Barbara Windus, hosted a haunted house for Halloween at her farm so she had experience planning events and transforming the everyday into another world.

Renaissance Faire

10 a.m. – 6 p.m. July 17 -18
and July 24 – 25
6118 Mount Angel Highway, Silverton
$13 for adults; $10 for senior citizens 60
and older and children 6 to 12;
free for 5 and younger
Visit: www.canterburyfaire.com
for the schedule and information on
Knight School or call 503-873-3274

What prevented her from having a fair was she couldn’t find her ideal location. One day she looked out her bedroom window and saw her neighbor’s overgrown Christmas trees and decided it would be a perfect spot. She agreed to clear the underbrush in exchange for using her neighbor’s land.

She began planning the first Canterbury Renaissance Fair in February 2009, held that July with more than 800 people a day in attendance.

As soon as that fair was complete, plans were under way for this year’s event.Knights engage in battle.

“Each year, we want to improve on what we did the year before and add new things,” White said. “We want to make this a premiere event.”

Hoping guests feel like they have been transported to an English village in the 1500s, guests will start by walking through a grove of trees until they reach the enchanted  forest with castles and an English village with a market bustling with vendors selling “fyne food and drink,” hand-crafted treasures, leather goods, pewter mugs, Renaissance clothing, pottery and barbecued turkey legs.

“Everyone who participates in the event will be dressed in Renaissance clothing,” White said.

Entertainment includes magic acts, music, sword fighting, fire eating, archery demonstrations and jousting. There will be a children’s area where youngsters can dress up as knights or princesses and participate in other activities.

Barbara Windus, who has a history degree from Michigan State University, will give history tours.

“We hope a visit to the fair is a magical transition to a magical time,” Windus said. “I invite people to come remember a slice of history that is far removed from ours and see how people lived, worked and played. There’s nonstop entertainment with the jousting and the sword fighting. There’s enough to do you can spend a day here.”

Alison White, who plays the role of Queen Elizabeth, enjoys the shopping, the food and the chance to pretend for a day she is someone and somewhere else.

“Attending the fair is a good way to get away from the humdrum of everyday life,” Alison said.

Even though she spends countless hours preparing for the event, for Windus, the event is not only fun but also enchanting.

“I get to meet some wonderful people,” she said. “It makes all the hard work preparing for the event worth it.”

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