Kearney Renaissance Faire

Nov 1, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Heather Parish

by Heather Parish

You are cordially invited by His Majesty, Henry the VIII to visit the Shire of Kearney for the annual Kearney Renaissance Festival on Saturday, November 8, 2014 and Sunday, November 9, 2014 in Kearney Park, Fresno, CA. The weekend celebrates the harvest season weekend with jousters, soldiers, merchants, entertainers, and the visiting King Henry VIII and his court.

“The Kearney Faire is the final faire of the season, so it has a distinctly different feel than the summertime faires. The park is dotted with pumpkins and autumn decor, the weather is cooler and there are campfires going around site—the sights and smells of autumn are in the air,” says performer Kat Clowes of St. Henry’s Guild, who portray the noble courtiers.

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King Henry VIII oversees a battle re-enactment

The entertainments and re-enactments are typically of special note at Kearney Park Renaissance Faire. Most faires feature Queen Elizabeth I as the English monarch. But Kearney Park is the only faire in the Fresno area that features the court of King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I’s father, most recently renewed in popular imagination by the television show, The Tudors.

At Kearney Park the re-enactors portraying Henry VIII and his court present a more traditional version of His Majesty. At this year’s festival, King Henry is about to leave the first of his six wives, Catherine of Aragon, for his second, Anne Boleyn. (Boleyn was later executed by beheading and Queen Catherine died, divorced.)

Beyond the intrigues of the noble court, the re-enactments presented include a joust, a working trebuchet, various English, Scottish, and Irish villagers, historical bellydance, and a battle re-enactment presided over by King Henry. And that’s just a fraction of the attractions for the day. A full day of stage entertainment is also on hand, including comedians, jugglers, storytellers and stunts. The atmosphere is festive and like a holiday celebration.

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A group of English villagers practice English Folk Dancing

Kearney Faire’s November dates make it a perfect opportunity to celebrate autumn and begin your holiday shopping. Unique, off-the-beaten-path goods, such as jewelry, leather goods, goblets, costume pieces, and hand-made treasures are ripe for the picking from the vendors of the faire. The historical or fantasy buff in your life will be easy to buy for at the event this year.

For some people, though, the attraction is to satisfy the craving for “fair-food” one last time before next year. The smells of the food court are often the first thing to attract patrons at a faire, and at Kearney Park it is no different. With the cooler weather, crowd favorites like funnel cake and roast beef sandwiches really hit the spot, as does a glass of ale. And there are the more historical foods to try, too…meat pies and turkey legs, for instance.

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Re-enactors often design and make their own historical clothing, such as these noble gowns

But more than anything else, spending a fall afternoon in the beautiful grounds of Kearney Park, with such sights and sounds to behold is simply a great way to spend some time with the family, cultivate curiosity, and be entertained in a way pleasing to all of your senses!

A few other things to keep in mind if you decide to attend: The entry fee at the front gate of Kearney Park includes both your park fee and your admission fee to the faire. They also take credit cards at the gate (via a Square card-reader), and there is an ATM on site if you need cash for a particular purchase. Admission is $1 off with the donation of canned food, which goes to Catholic Charities.

The faire takes place in the Garfield Corners area of the park, which is in the south-west side of the park. There is one handicapped lot and three other lots for parking in that area.

Pets are not allowed in the park grounds unless they are service animals; service animals must be wearing their identifying jackets.

Cannons will be fired throughout the day, so if you are sensitive to noise, be aware.
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And bring an umbrella and wear warm shoes! The event is rain or shine, but even when it rains it is usually brief showers, and the faire continues when they pass by!

To attend Kearney Renaissance Faire:
Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9, 2014. 10 a.m. until dusk.
Admission: $10 adult. $8 Senior, Military and Students. $1 off with the donation of canned goods.
Location: Kearney Park, 7160 W Kearney Blvd., Fresno, CA.
Take Highway 99 to Highway 180 West. Turn Left on Hayes and then Right on Kearney Blvd.
The Kearney Renaissance Faire Benefits Catholic Charities. For more information, contact Joyce Roberts (559) 392-0965.

Check out last year’s article on the Faire to learn some more background on the event.

Heather Parish is the founding artistic director of The New Ensemble Theater in Fresno and author of What’s My Call Time? Theater Blog. You can sign up for her e-newsletter on upcoming theater offerings in the Fresno/Visalia area at www.whatsmycalltime.com.

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