The smell of chicken is permeating the air. Someone’s blasting Albannach on their car stereo. In Central PA, this can only mean one thing – it must be Faire season. The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire’s Grand Arrival weekend runs from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and you can get your tickets two for the price of one this and next weekend with a coupon you can grab at your local Turkey Hill or Wawa. Of course, all the old favorites are present: the archery demonstration, the street shows, the Sangria punch. However, there’s also ample new reasons for regulars and newcomers alike to make a visit this year, including…
New Plot Line
Last year, for the first time in 30 years, the PA Renn Faire had a king and queen. Generally, the Renn Faire’s season storyline involves Queen Elizabeth I, as it has for most of its existence; last year, King Henry VII and Queen Catherine of Aragon, political influencer and Henry’s first wife, presided over the Faire. Faire ownership were relatively mum on whether or not Queen Bess would return last year; now, for the second year in the row, there’s a new crown (well, two) in town. This offers the opportunity for new plot lines, something that you tend to run a little light on after a generation of covering one forty-five year period. This year sees the new monarchs immediately after Catherine’s successful defense of England against the Scots in a battle that killed King James IV of Scotland and Henry’s subsequent victory over the French. The premise of this year? The King and Queen have gathered to celebrate their victories at Mount Hope Shire. In all likelihood, things won’t remain peaceful for long.
A Little Remodeling
If you’re a Faire regular, you might notice that the Boar’s Head Stage is no more. That particular platform hosted some stunt shows, a few of them pertinent to the main plot of the Faire. Don’t despair, though; fists will still fly, just much… much closer. The Boar’s Head Brawl, a stunt show featuring many of the main cast’s wildest characters, will take place at audience-level, which gives you an opportunity to witness the action up close and personal. Just be wary you don’t catch an elbow or a flying tankard yourself.
Regulars at the Faire will know that the day’s storyline usually closes with an Ultimate Joust. If you’re not about seeing people get knocked off horses with giant sticks, a.) what’s wrong with you and b.) maybe the pyrotechnics will convince you. Each year, the folks at the Faire pack more punch into the joust; the pyrotechnic displays are truly a sight.