Whitman College Renaissance Fair brings spirit of an earlier age to Walla Walla

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WALLA WALLA - The smell of sweet onion sausage wafted over the lawn in front of the clock tower at Whitman College on Saturday, during the school's 40th annual Renaissance Fair. The mouth-watering aroma of the meat being cooked over fire added to the atmosphere as well as the authenticity of the event.

A cool wind and an overcast sky made the fair feel even more like medieval northern Europe, as did the men, women and children dressed in period costumes, such as knights in full armor and fortune tellers in long, flowing robes. There was even a castle, but, sadly, it was only five feet tall and inflated with air.

Whitman College students and entertainers from across the state delighted audiences with unicycle jousting, musical performances and a 15-minute rendition of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Kristi Marshall, of Milton-Freewater, who dressed in renaissance clothing for the festivities, was selling some of her artwork, including paintings that were done on recycled lumber.

Marshall spoke of her desire to create and sell art at events like this in a way that was environmentally and socially responsible.

"It was just such a shame to see this material go to waste," she said of the reused construction materials.

Many of her paintings depicted country landscapes and portraits of medieval royalty, and Marshall explained how the historical theme made the fair so enjoyable.

"We came (to the Renaissance Fair) last year and had so much fun," Marshall said. "My father has a booth, and my sister has a booth so we decided to make it a family thing.

"There are so many things for the kids to do," she continued, "And you can't beat the entertainment - people in costumes, trying to speak in the language of the 1500s. It's great to see everyone get into the spirit of it."

One of those individuals was a young man dressed as an elderly, bedraggled peasant, named Grob, who was selling organic sticks and dirt for one penny each. When asked how he spelled the peculiar name, he simply replied, "Why, I haven't the foggiest idea!"

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