Patrons take a step back in time at Renaissance Fair

May 6 2013 - 12:22am

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(Right to left) Moroni Bishop, 9, holds a jousting pole while his brother Riley Bishop, 7, Ari Bishop and Michael Houston watch at the Renaissance Festival in Marriott-Slaterville on Saturday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
(Right to left) Moroni Bishop, 9, holds a jousting pole while his brother Riley Bishop, 7, Ari Bishop and Michael Houston watch at the Renaissance Festival in Marriott-Slaterville on Saturday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE -- There was something to satisfy each of the five senses at the Utah Renaissance Fair that started this weekend and will go for two more consecutive weekends at Millcreek Hollow Farm, 3105 W. Pioneer Road in Marriott-Slaterville.

Several acres were covered with booths offering food, crafts and entertainment, all set up as in Renaissance times. Many patrons came dressed in full Renaissance period attire and roamed the fair as if it were set in the 1500s.

Many little boys proudly dressed in pretend suits of armor and carried wooden swords, while little girls were dressed as Renaissance princesses with flower headbands and silky garments.

The Utah festival has been under way for about nine years and has gained popularity each year. Renaissance festivals are offered throughout the United States, and many people travel from festival to festival, performing as entertainers or spectators. Others sell handmade items, while local vendors also participate.

Sue Bodily started the festival nine years ago after visiting festivals in other states. She wanted to bring the tradition to Utah, said friend and fellow organizer, Jaime Meredith. Bodily grew up in Utah and wanted people here to see what the Renaissance and the experience of the festival is all about. Meredith said they try to have the festival at the same place each year.

"It's fun and something the kids enjoy. There's something for the whole family," Meredith said.

The two also like the idea of a Utah festival because it helps local businesses to have a place to sell their wares ranging from specialty foods to handmade costumes to jewelry.

John and Dian Neville have been coming to the Utah festival for the past five or six years and said they really enjoy spending time there with their family. As the family strolled through the fair, dressed in full Renaissance regalia, their 4-year-old daughter Emre could hear the magic show starting and was eager to get a front-row seat.

"We like the diversity, and we like to dress up," Dian said.

She and John plan their family vacations around fairs around the country. John showed off his costume, made up of different pieces he has picked up from festivals around the country.

"We live in Ogden, so we like to come to the local fair too," Dian said.

Jayna Smoot, a nurse, volunteers at the fair's first-aid station, which she has done since the fair started. Her station is right near the jousting arena, so she can help mend any cuts or bruises. She said she hopes to not see anything life-threatening.

This year is a little different. The professional jousting group wasn't able to come, so the fair has opened up the jousting to the community. Those who would like participate over the next two weekends must register online at www.utahrenfest.com and bring a horse, plus pay the $25 entry fee. They can participate in jousting games, such as spear throwing and ring tossing.

Smoot said she loves to watch the jousting and other elements of the fair. She enjoys the costuming so much, she is learning to sew her own, something that is common for many who attend the festivals, Meredith said.

"Rarely do you see costumes from a Halloween store. People love to sew their own or have handmade costumes," she said.

The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the next two weekends over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $12 for adults and $6 for children. Those dressed in period clothing will receive $2 off the entry fee.

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