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Faire swashbuckles through Sunday
Lords and ladies dressed in the finest of medieval clothing will be at the West Wetlands Park again Saturday and Sunday to shop at the olde world village marketplace that has sprung up there.
The fourth annual Two Rivers Renaissance Faire is open from 10 a.m. to dusk - about 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 a ticket for adults and $5 for children 6 to 12 years old. Children under 6 are free.
Roving minstrels, swashbuckling pirates and dueling swordsmen will be back again to help transport guests back into a time of mystery and romance.
The faire opened Friday to a crowd of eager students who came to learn about the famous era that spawned an unprecedented growth of scientific knowledge and exploration.
Perry Dockins, event producer, said the faire is teeming with interesting personalities.
"There is a different layout this year, and we have more guilds (re-enactors) and they brought more people. There are four stages and more performers. There are nice family shows, and the Duelists are back.
"We also have horses to ride, which benefits Saddles of Joy. They not only wear the garb, but they garb the horses and ride through the faire."
Dockins said participating in the faire is a great way to escape the trappings of modern society.
"I think it was a very romantic time when things started to boom scientifically and culturally, and it is a lot of fun to pretend to be someone else for a few days. Currently I am Theodoric Odoric Uglye. You can have fun with it and pull something right out of history or just give it a twist, and that is what we are about, having fun."
During the faire, Paul Gambling wanders around the marketplace dressed as bishop of old and gives blessings to all he meets. He said the church was a key player in shaping the world during the Renaissance.
"The church was vitally important, and it went through a lot of turbulent times - the reformation, and the split of Lutherans and England from the Roman Church. Wars were fought, blood was spilt and there was a lot of dissension."
During the day, blacksmith Brady Huffer sits in his shop surrounded by enough steel swords, maces, daggers and bows to equip a small medieval army. He travels from one faire to the next and sells his handmade weapons full time.
"In about 1996 I gave up my high-tech, high-paying job for this low-tech, low-paying job. I absolutely love doing this. We do a lot of the work ourselves. This weekend there is probably 2-1/2 man years of labor in this booth alone."
Sitting on a grassy green hill in the corner of the faire is the pirate headquarters, where pirates come to rest in between their time out doing dastardly deeds and pillaging the countryside. These scourges of the high seas are led by Capt. Blackheart Bonnie.
"I have a crew, but you know how reliable pirates are," she said. "We mostly just sit here and look good, but we do break out in fights. We try to find trouble, and we are recruiting pirates if anyone is interested, but they have to be serious."
Dockins said the faire provides plenty of good times.
"For the cost of a movie ticket, which would entertain you for an hour, you can come out here and be entertained all day. Our presale tickets are up, so we are expecting a big crowd on Saturday and Sunday.
"There is great food, including turkey legs. Everybody needs to eat a turkey leg."