By Brianna Bennett

Queen Catherine of Aragon | Photo by Brianna Bennett, The Keystone
Queen Catherine of Aragon | Photo by Brianna Bennett, The Keystone

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, hosted in Manheim, Pa., on the property of the Mount Hope Winery, was an experience of great merriment and celebration. Roughly an hour’s drive from KU’s campus, it felt more like a trip in a time machine.

According to the Henrician Herald, the Faire’s program and list of cast and crew, “The year is 1513. Our brave King Henry is returning home in triumph from his glorious victory over the French in the Battle of the Spurs, an aptly named battle that sent the French cavalry fleeing in fear. A tremendous victory indeed.”

Pride seemed to permeate through the faire as I walked through the grounds. Some people were even dressed in costume – and they were not even actors.

This year marked thirty-five years since the faire opened, and the actors and actresses have been celebrating since the first of August and will continue to do so until the end of October, so do not miss out on your mini-vacation.

KU students in particular should attend the faire because it reaches out to people from all walks of life and brings them together in a unique and fun way that is not that far from KU.

Attending on Labor Day meant that the “Heroes of the Realm” theme weekend was coming to its conclusion, and there are no words to describe the sensation of watching a former United States Marine be honored by King Henry VIII himself.

Shows such as “The Mud Squad,” “Washing Well Wenches,” “Don Juan and Miguel,” “The Sirens” and many others made visitors laugh until they cried with bawdy humor and believable authenticity. I think that KU students would appreciate the innuendos and puns that the actors came up with.

For those 21 and older, alcohol is available. However, there are other sources of nourishment throughout the faire, including giant turkey legs, which was a meal fit for a king.

My personal experience at the faire was that there were not enough hours in the day to do all of the shows and activities, and going back again would be a great treat.

Even if you do not like magic or fantasy, the faire has something for you to get lost in – there was even a museum about the uses of torture during the Tudor reign, which I know would interest the history majors out there.

“Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again!” said Queen Catherine of Aragon as the Finale in Song finished for the evening. Merry meet again, indeed.


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