Andrew Bianco of Palo Alto, left, poses for a photo at the Northern California Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta on Sunday, Oct. 16. (Juan Reyes/Press Banner)

Mystery and adventure continued for hundreds of guests who attended the Northern California Renaissance Faire this past weekend.

The Venetian Carnevale and Masquerade took place Oct. 15 and 16 at the village of Willingtown, a makeshift town built at Casa de Fruta on the outskirts of Hollister. 

It took about eight months for Andrew Bianco of Palo Alto to put together his outfit that was inspired by Cernunnos, the Celtic god of beasts and wild places.

Bianco wore antlers, like Cernunnos, and had hooves for feet. He also sported a big brown leather belt outlined with sheep wool and a pair of brown leather pants.

“There’s a labyrinth masquerade ball that happens yearly in the [Los Angeles] area and when I attended that I got a lot of inspiration seeing what other people were putting together,” Bianco said. 

It was the second time Bianco wore the outfit at the NorCal Renaissance Faire. However, he’s been attending various fairs including one in Southern California for at least the past 20 years.

“I just love seeing the costumes that everybody gets together,” he said. “I know it’s a Renaissance Faire, but this is a medieval fantasy fair.”

Bianco said there’s so few opportunities that people have to dress up whether it’s an Anime-Comic convention or the Dickens Christmas Fair.

“Sometimes depending on the themed weekend, it will determine what I like to show up as,” he said. 

Apart from the costumes and shopping for some new apparel, Bianco enjoys the joust events and he likes the proximity. He also enjoys the smoked turkey legs, which they don’t have at the SoCal festival. 

“Of all the fairs, this one has the best turkey legs,” he said. 

Apart from the smoked turkey legs, other “traditional” Renaissance Faire food includes Bangers and Brats with sauteed onions and peppers, the roast chicken and artichokes booth and warm cinnamon buns.

There are more than 200 artisans selling clothing, jewelry, garlands, glass and ceramics.  

Jimmy and Ruth Bowman of El Dorado Hills made a three-hour trek to attend the annual fair. 

“You get to be whatever you want to be and everybody accepts it,” Jimmy said.

Jimmy was a barbarian, decked out in brown leather and a couple of furs while carrying a battle ax in one hand, and another on his back. 

Ruth decided to go as a barbarian warrior, wearing black leather and shiny bracers on the wrist. 

It’s the third straight year they’ve attended the fair, but it’s the first time they got the rest of the family to dress up.

“The ages are from 22 to 12 and they’re all dressed up,” Ruth said. “That’s the only time you can get them to agree.”

The Renaissance Faire is in town one last weekend for the Halloween Fantasy as the village of Willingtown gets haunted by an evil spirit. 

There will be a special trick or treat event along with a costume contest on Oct. 22-23 at the Royal Court of Gloriana at 3:15pm. 

The village doors open at 10am and the festivities end at 6pm. For more information visit

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