Nearly 10,000 people were transported to the past when the Northern California Renaissance Faire kicked off its six-weekend extravaganza on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Visitors to Casa de Fruta, about 14 miles east of Gilroy and 12 miles north of Hollister on Highway 152, discovered medieval world-class jousting tournaments, court jesters, buxom wenches wielding ales, fair maidens, men in kilts, warriors, brave knights and fire-eating performers.
Frances Larose, director of marketing for the Northern California Renaissance Faire, said the hope is to grow the Faire even more and bring in more families.
“That is why we have added a sixth weekend, Halloween Fantasy,” said Larose. “It is geared to local families and friends.”
Renaissance Faire visitors were entertained with theatrical and musical performances on six busy stages, a tournament of horses and even giant turkey legs in a royal food court.
“Our knights are dashing and fearless,” said Larose. “They entertain audiences with a full contact joust, featuring shattering lances and riveting sword fighting.”
With so many things to do, Larose recommended that visitors pick up a schedule at the front gate, plan out their day and even stop in the Belrose Costume shop for some festival-appropriate attire.
“Besides the games we have fire eating, with revelry, dancing, glass blowing and amazing artisans with hand crafted wear,” said Larose.
Visit the Northern California Renaissance Faire weekends through Oct. 21. Visitors can receive a $5 discount for the second and third weekends when buying online at norcalrenfaire.com. Use the code: Renaissance.
Next weekend, Sept. 22-23, pirates will invade the village of Willingtown, and children under 7 can meet the queen in the annual wee pirate costume contest.
Sept. 29-30 is Heroes and Villains weekend, where visitors are encouraged to join the fun and dress as their favorite hero or villain from history, literature, entertainment or their own imagination.
Oct. 6-7 is Oktoberfest, and Oct. 13-14 is the masquerade weekend, with prizes for the queen’s favorite mask.
Every weekend, there are games—archery, darts, javelins, maypoles and more—and hair and face decorating, a fools’ maze, funny farm petting zoo, fortune telling and hundreds of arts and crafts.
Where: Casa de Fruta, Pacheco Pass, Hwy 152, Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors can receive a $5 discount for the second and third weekends when buying online at norcalrenfaire.com. Use the code: Renaissance.