Don’t miss the new and improved East Idaho Renaissance Faire
For its second year, the East Idaho Renaissance Faire is bigger, better and more fun!
“Our cast has grown and we have more scheduled activities,” Mathew Jensen, who brought this fair to the Upper Valley, told East Idaho News.com. “Last year, we got everything together and we had a couple performers, and we figured out the day before performers would perform.” He says that they were able to find enough performers doing enough different things to fill out the schedule and offer fair guests more variety.
Jensen said that the fair includes nearly triple the number of vendors from last year. Attendees can find everything from magic wands to fantasy armaments to books and decorative knick-knacks. One booth includes a small metal forge, where a blacksmith heats and shapes blazing hot metal into trinkets right before customers’ eyes.
Food and drink vendors are on site, should hunger pangs strike while visitors are miking medieval. There’s a tavern, where one can sit and enjoy a meal and music.
The fair also offers all-new fun and exciting activities this year. Jensen highlights the fair’s tavern singing sessions.
“You can go into the tavern with your family, and you can get some homemade root beer and you can sing with our performers,” he said.
The fair also features a new stage, where guests can go to catch magic and dance performances.
The fair is even in a new venue this year, Twin Bridges Park, between Rexburg and Ririe. The trees and the little balls of fluff wafting through air add a layer of mystical atmosphere that was absent in last year’s location.
“Madison County was amazing and let us use the entire back half of the campground, and monetarily, it was cheaper,” Jensen said. “The county sees the fair as a potentially great source of revenues and a way to draw people to the area, so they helped us out a lot.”
One of the fair’s primary attractions, The Knights Tournament, is bigger and better this year too. The show includes a twisty plot and an expanded cast of characters. Kevin Gingles, one of the fair’s new knights, was recruited when he dropped his wife off to try out for the fair.
“They said, ‘Well, hey. You might as well come try out too and see what you got,’” he said. “So they had me run a lap around the park. They gave me a sword and had me do a few moves. Then, they put a helmet on me and hit me in the head to make sure I wouldn’t flinch too hard. And then they said “Very good. You’re a knight.’”
Gingles, along with all the other knights, received a fair amount of training for his role in the tournament.
“It was pretty difficult, actually,” he said. “We learn some very basic sparring skills. We use plastic swords and daggers at first to warm up, and then we started using the blunted metal ones.”
Fighters learned the fights a move at a time, with an emphasis and doing what they want to do in a safe manner that also looks cool.
“It’s choreographed fight,” he said. “But it can also be invigorating.”
With so much new this year, some familiar faces also make appearances at the fair. Magician Ainsley Furgason returns to crack jokes and juggle dangerous, flaming objects. The Society of Creative Anachronism is back to exhibit period-appropriate wares.
And, of course, the knights and maidens have returned.
And because it’s a smaller fair, guests can expect more interaction with both cast members and vendors, which leads to a more personal experience and better memories. As Jensen puts it: “That’s one of the things about a small fair that’s pretty darn good. You remember all this stuff.”