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Gypsy performances, magic shows, and jousting competitions provided entertainment to all ages at the Utah Renaissance Festival and Fantasy Faire in Slaterville, Utah throughout the month of May.
“We are interested in education and entertainment, as well as supporting local artists and small businesses,” said Sue Bodily, CEO of the Renaissance Festival and Fantasy Faire. “When we set up one of our Renaissance festivals we encourage people that do handcrafts, leather workings and blacksmiths to set up shop and give them an opportunity to sell what they create.”
A main focus for the Renaissance Festival was giving Pack and Pounce Animal Rescue visibility with the public in the hopes of raising money for their cause.
The Renaissance Festival is hosted by non-profit organization Intermountain Renaissance Arts foundation, which works to get schools involved and provide below cost field trips.
“I really like the Renaissance Faire and have always had an interest in things medieval. I grew up playing with swords and stuff like that,” said Tyler Brown, WSU junior. “Last year I came and had fun, so this year I decided I would take a more active role.”
Brown discussed his background in photography and how he came up with a booth idea to take photos of people and make them look like paintings or sketches.
When the Festival began, it ran for one weekend and now in its ninth annual year it has expanded to four weekends. Vendors change, but the main ideas and experience stay the same.
“We have met a bunch of insane people, but you have to understand that includes myself. Everybody is really enjoyable,” said Howard Clark, Medieval Munchies vendor. “We have fairies that come by and give you little love stones to make you happy.”
Medieval Munchies provides authentic food from medieval times. Patrons can experience foods such as Scotches with tradition Scottish seasonings and shepherd’s pie with traditional Irish seasonings.
WSU senior Arianna Allred said her favorite part is the atmosphere and the variety of things to participate in. Allred not only helps to get the site ready but also provides entertainment.
“I am part of Banjara, the world traveling gypsy troop,” said Allred. “I get to tell stories of all the different places these gypsies have danced from.”
The Festival contained 47 vendors, both food and merchandise, so patrons could wandered the shops between shows. In some cases the patrons are difficult to spot because they are dressed in medieval period clothing.
Shanna Futral, a member the gypsy band of Yom al Had, said she is Inanna, queen of the gypsies.
“We have a show that is all original music and it is influenced by different types of cultural dance, specifically belly dancing,” said Futral. “We tell all the stories about where the different types of dances came from and where we picked up all of our family members.”
Gypsies, fairies, mermaids and pirates. All play a role in the festival, representing the fantasy faire part of the event.
“When you come to a Renaissance Faire you can become whoever or whatever you want to be, and it is totally acceptable,” said Sir William, night marshal of field. “Everybody is friendly and everybody is wanting to help. It is like coming home to family.”