Modern, medieval mix at Renaissance Faire

Members of the “Mossy Back Morris Men” do a medieval fighting dance at the Renaissance Faire Saturday afternoon at Whitman College.

Members of the “Mossy Back Morris Men” do a medieval fighting dance at the Renaissance Faire Saturday afternoon at Whitman College. Photo by Greg Lehman.


WALLA WALLA — A siege of common folk traipsed along Boyer Avenue all day Saturday for the 44th Annual Whitman College Renaissance Faire.

As in years past, the fair drew in hundreds who watched or participated in period dances, music, art and other cultural events, as well as some not-so-period events that reach all the way to the epic of Star Wars.

“The whole Renaissance fair is anachronistic,” fair chair Lydia Loopeska said, “because we merge a lot of Renaissance and Medieval culture.”

This year, however, the fair took an intergalactic leap to “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ...”

Every year, the members of Whitman’s Renaissance Club stage a short period play for the merriment of folk.

Last year’s play was “The King’s Brew,” which was a skit about someone having spiked the king’s drink.

“Someone had spiked the brew so the King was tripping all day long,” Loopeska said.

Trying to keep with the Renaissance tradition, a Shakespearean version of “Star Wars: A New Hope” was performed for the audience, both in iambic pentameter and using the vernacular of the period.

Performer Sean Cole-Jansen — who played Grand Moff Tarkin in a scene where Alderaan is destroyed — noted that the poetic form and archaic vocabulary would have made it hard to follow, except for one factor.

“We are kind of working on the hope that everyone has seen the movie,” Cole-Jansen said. “If they haven’t, they should see it.”

Five actors performed three scenes from the Shakespearian-like adaptation by Ian Doescher.

“We acquired a copy of it and thought it was a really fun script,” Cole-Jansen said, explaining that a week of rehearsal wouldn’t allow for them to perform entire play.

There were other anachronisms at the fair. Vendors selling floral or silk headdresses were stationed near purveyors of bacon-wrapped wieners and funnel cakes.

Swordsmiths, blacksmiths and fortune tellers set up shop next to tie-dye shirts booths and snow-cone sellers.

Anachronisms aside, each year fair officials try to bring attention to two modern causes.

This year, attention was brought to the crisis in Crimea, which would have cleverly been relabeled Crusades of Crimea. But Loopeska noted that the Crusades were more of a Medieval-aged thing.

The second cause for the day was global warning. Of course there was no global warming from the 14th to 17th centuries. But some scientist believe there was a mini-ice age during the end of the Medieval Period and through the Renaissance.

“So this year focus was brought to the attention of global cooling,” Loopeska said.


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