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Sunday, September 7, 2014

King Richard's Faire

King Richard’s Faire, a renaissance fair held in Carver, Massachusetts, recreates a 16th-century marketplace and transports visitors back in time. It comes complete with handmade crafts, a wide array of performers including, musicians, singers, dancers, minstrels, mimes, jugglers, magicians, comedians, exotic animals, acrobats, mud beggars. It also includes the popular knights jousting on horseback, a royal court, and the fictional King Richard.

The idea of a renaissance fair is intriguing and definitely interesting even given the steep entrance fee of $29. We arrive just before 12:00 and made our way through the gates into the shaded 80-acre pine forest where we found a small medieval village where many of the spectators come decked out in full 16th-century garb.

There were 8 stages and a tournament field. And that is where we started. We made our way to the Dance stage where we were awed by the musical and dance skills of Hrafn with their Irish War Pipes & Drums and their lovely belly dancer.

Next we wandered to the Kings Stage and witnessed Paulo Garbanzo’s juggling act. He is clearly a skilled juggler and his show was a mix of juggling and magic/illusion. His grand finale was juggling 5 flaming torches which he did so effortlessly and worked his way down until only two were left.

If admission allowed re-entry I might have left for lunch and com back but they have you once you arrive. There is no re-admittance so you must stay for as long as you can and that includes buying lunch at Canterbury Kitchens. They work with the ticket style system where you are forced to buy tickets in $5 increments leaving you nearly incapable of using all your tickets.  We got $40 bucks worth and it was just enough to get a pulled pork sandwich each, a large fries to share and a regular size beer. We had 1 ticket left over.

After eating we headed to the Torture Show which was an interesting experience and I’ll admit when Ses Carny took the nail and plunged it up his nose into his sinuses it made me turn away. Something about things going places their not supposed to go disturbs me. Either way it was a perfect fit for the King Richard’s Faire and his entertaining performance was definitely one of the better at the fair.

The best show/performance was The Mud Show with the sturdy beggars.  Billy Billy Von Billy and Bob the Beggar after selecting a fair maiden as judge gave a comedic grotesque performance with forced audience participation. To prove their side of the stage was the best they got the audience to participate in a series of challenges from who was louder personal displays of mud enjoyment such as face planting in the mud to drinking the muddy water. Next it progressed to kissing audience members while covered in mud. The final coup de grĂ¢ce involved collection of money from the audience and the side that collected the most would be spared having to eat mud. Billy Billy Von Billy was the unlucky looser and ate mud from the area’s mud pool.

Jack Lepiarz who performs as his alter ego Jacques Ze Whippeur in his Dashing Danger show at the Kings Richard’s Faire is a playful and exciting performance. His performance is part Pepe Le Pew and part Lumiere. Jacque first came to King Richard’s Faire in 2008 and has been a recurring act ever since. His skill and precision with a whip was on full display at the Kings Stage as he skillfully whipped piece by piece a stick from his mouth before his final act of a flaming whip. His comedic style and flamboyant flare made his show that much more captivating. I am sure when his shirt came off he got the attention of a few more
people too. You would never know he is a local radio broadcaster when not performing.

 After dashing lothario we moved on to the total opposite. The Washing Well Wenches and their Good, Clean Fun… Wet Dirty Women performance. This raunchy yet entertaining comedy show was a splash as the two wenches entertained us with audience participation and a quirky song.

This was definitely one of the highlights of the faire and worth every second of the performance. Be warned if you sit up front think Shamu at Sea World. You might get wet. Also avoid being called up on stage since that's a recipe for having everyone at the faire remember and laugh at you.

While we waited for the Tiger show and the Jousting we took a seat at the Hell’s Mouth Stage for a performance of the Sheriff’s Court. I gathered by the spectator’s presenting Violation tickets that over the course of the day they were given them for alleged violations of the kings law. They selected 6 juror’s from the audience 3 ladies and 3 guys who would after hearing the prosecution and the defense the Sherriff leaves it to the jury to decide their fate. If they are guilty they must sing as punishment. The crimes varied from public indecency to public displays of affections. It was honestly pretty boring and there is so much more with this I think they could have done.

After the Sheriff's Court we took the opportunity to wander into many of the shoppe’s. Most if not all the shoppe’s catered to the medieval times selling pewter beer mugs, swords, or other regalia appropriate with the times. Some carried more novelty type things like candle’s formed into dragons or chairs that hang from hooks. Then there were the more fantasy like horns you could wear. I picked up a small pair as a subtle costume to wear for Halloween.

With the Tale of the Tiger Big Cat Show starting soon we headed over to Tiger stage where we were introduced to a variety or Bengal tigers, ligars, a rare white tiger and even a playful monkey. The animals were amazing to see and the show was more about preservation then a performance. The animals were clearly very well taken care of and are used to help educate and fun programs to help the animals in the wild.

The final event of the day was the Joust to the Death at the tournament field where four knights battled to the death. Things got a bit out of hand when one of the knights didn’t respect the crown or the tournament and turned it into a bloody brawl.


All in all it was a fun day albeit a bit pricey for admission. My other gripe was that at each of the stages the performers more or less begged for money. After a steep admission I would have expected that at least the main stage performances would be complimentary without a feeling of obligation to pay more. Some like the Mud Show, Jacque Ze Whippeur and the Washing Well Wenches were wroth giving an extra couple bucks the majority of things were a bit of a bomb. It’s likely I won’t return since I am not one of those die hard renaissance people and given to cost. I did take my picture with a few of the performers.


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