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Festival brings Renaissance artists and demonstrators

By Sarah Hess
On November 8, 2017

One of RenFest’s merchants uses the melody from his stringed instrument to attract crowds to his potion bottles booth. Sarah Hess/The Lion’s Roar

The Louisiana Renaissance Festival, also known as RenFest to regular festivalgoers and the festival’s 16th-century actors, is held every weekend of November and the first two weekends of December. RenFest transforms the grounds a few miles past Hammond High School into the Village of Albright. Boasting more than 600 artisans, entertainers and educational demonstrators, there is a plethora of attractions to its attendants including rides for children, jousting shows, glassblowing demonstrations and special shows on certain days such as “Paolo’s Knife Throw Show.” The festival’s website states that RenFest is “a festival, theme park, theatre, holiday shopping destination and educational experience all rolled into one great adventure.”

RenFest has themed weekends where attendees are encouraged to dress to the theme and join in with the Renaissance roleplaying. This past weekend’s theme was “Mask Weekend,” and Nov. 11 and 12 is “Heroes & Pirates.” “Celtic Weekend” will be held on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 and will feature a bagpipe and drum competition. For the weekend of Nov. 24-26, the theme will be “Time Travelers & Families Weekend,” and the three-day weekend will have a costume contest. Dec. 2 and 3 will be the “Romance” theme.

This year’s turnout for the first weekend of RenFest was not one of the festival’s biggest crowds received for an opening weekend, but Saturday did draw a bigger crowd than Sunday. Festival performers noted how interactive this weekend’s guests were and their participation was what made the weekend a success. Ursula Chandler is a full-time candle maker and part of the Renaissance Living History Center nonprofit artisan where her demonstration booth can be found on one of the ground’s lanes dedicated to demonstrations such as candle making, real Renaissance era games, scribes and much more. Chandler explained how she thought the first weekend of the festival went.

“The weather has been great,” said Chandler. “The crowds have been participating. We’ve had a great first weekend.” 

First time RenFest attendee Courtney Burley, an antique dealer from Baton Rouge was camping with her son when she saw an ad about the festival and decided to go.

 “We’re both having fun,” said Burley. “He’s six, and he loves it.”

Burley explained which booth she and her son enjoyed the most and why people should visit RenFest. 

“Shooting the bows,” said Burley. “The different kinds of bows and arrows you can shoot and the knights of course. It’s just entertainment you don’t see every day, and the food’s great, and it’s fun people.”  

Admission to the festival is $20 for adults, $12 for children and for children under six are free. For more information on the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, visit their website at www.larf.org.

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