What better way
to help introduce the dawn of the new millennium, and the 20th anniversary
of one of Pennsylvania’s most celebrated festivals, than with a fantasy
adventure filled with love, romance and intrigue? The excitement starts
August 18 at the annual frolic back in time to Merrie Olde England known
as the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with a joyous recreation of the
romancing by two famous men of one incredibly famous woman. Then begins,
for nine glorious weekends, a contest for the affection of Queen Elizabeth
The First by Her Majesty’s courageous Captain of the Seas, Sir Francis
Drake, and the charming and dignified explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh.
The year is 1560.
Good Queen "Bess" has come to the Hamlet of Mount Hope for Her
annual respite from the responsibilities that accompany Her role as the
most powerful woman in the world. The Mount Hope Shire folk, as always,
have planned the grandest of celebrations filled with mirth and merriment
in honor of their beloved Queen’s visit.
But a surprise
awaits Her Majesty. It seems that powerful noblemen at Court have been
placing great pressure on the Queen to marry. Unbeknownst to Her Majesty,
they have gone so far as to invite England’s two most celebrated
warriors and explorers, Drake and Raleigh, in hopes that Elizabeth will
find Her marital match and end the raging debate of who shall be the
successor to the Crown.
For their part,
the two renowned gentlemen have embraced the opportunity to win the heart
of their Queen, while gaining the title of King.
dreams come true at the Faire!
To The 16th Century
Acclaimed as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the
American Bus Association, the Faire has earned its national reputation
through the remarkable immersion of its visitors into a marvelous fantasy
of another time and place.
The suspension of
reality and the transition to a very different era begins even before you
reach the gates to the Shire. Fresh from your journey, you stroll along
the red stone walkway past the Carriage House Wine Shop and round the
corner of the three story tall Victorian Mount Hope Mansion. Immediately,
you are greeted by the magnificent sights of a festival just beyond and
the sounds of 100’s of villagers calling you forth, urging you to join
with them in preparing to greet the Queen, due to arrive in just a few
The excitement is contagious. You
suddenly realize that your feet have a mind of their own as they begin
tapping away to the music of bagpipe, drum, and tambourine, while your
eyes drink in dozens of sights at once: a jester’s acrobatics atop the
castle wall; a fool teaching one of your friends how to juggle; a handsome
Lord, resplendent in colorful silks, kissing the hand of a maiden; and a
flirtatious gypsy woman determined to dance with a nearby patron she is
convinced is her long lost uncle.
Soon the distant sounds of herald
trumpets can be heard, and the crowd proclaims, "The Queen is coming!
The Queen is coming! Make way for Her Majesty." In a processional
filled with all the pomp and pageantry of a Hollywood film epic, Elizabeth
approaches. She is surrounded by Beefeater Guards, escorted by a handsome
knight, and followed by Lords and Ladies bedecked in their finest courtly
daily in a thrilling contest of lance and shield in the "Ultimate
Acres of Mirth and Merriment
Her Majesty is given official welcome, the cannons fire, the gates swing
wide and the Festival Day commences. The music swirls skyward again and
the Queen greets Her subjects as the distinction between villagers and
guests begins to disappear. Truly, for this one day, all who have entered
the castle gates have become citizens of 16th century England.
which of the over 60 shows on the Revels Schedule you’ll plan to see,
you decide to venture forth, acknowledging passers-by speaking in
"thee’s" and "thou’s" with an understanding nod.
You’re quickly distracted by a group of children laughing hysterically
at a puppet stage performance. By the time you complete your leisurely
stroll of the village, you’ve walked some 35 acres from end to end.
In your travels,
you come upon over 100 Tudor buildings and 12 stages, some small and
intimate like the Hurdy Gurdy Stage, where two troubadours play and have
on display one of the largest collections of medieval and antique
instruments you’ve ever seen. Others are tall and imposing, like the
three-story replica of Shakespeare’s very own Globe Theater and the
massive four-story Royal Reviewing Stand from which the Queen presides
over the Jousting Tournament.
Drynke, Crafts and Games
Up the lane called Guildsmen’s Way, you encounter
scores of merchants and artisans, including potters, herbalists, leather
smiths, jewelers, candle makers, clothiers, and pewter makers, all
offering for sale and demonstrating their ancient wares. Fresh flower
garlands are hand sewn to adorn the heads of young ladies, the glass
blower shares techniques learned over the centuries as he crafts a one of
a kind work of art and the blacksmith is hard at work with hammer and
anvil, finishing a mammoth broadsword for one of the Royal Guards.
steel at the Human Chess Match.
As a feeling of
hunger reminds you that you’ve already spent a couple of hours exploring
this quaint town of yore, you decide to sample the goods from one of the
18 Royal Kitchens that dot the Shire and serve all varieties of food and
drynke. A new addition is the Shire’s microbrewery, the Swashbuckler
Pub, offering four delightful ales, from dark and robust to amber to honey
gold, all Pub-brewed in the Shire. At Bacchus’s Retreat, you stop to
enjoy complimentary samplings from the Royal wine cellars. To continue
your expedition without pause, you decide that a giant smoked turkey leg
"to go" will suffice while you sit to enjoy a showing of A
Midsummer Night’s Dream upon the boards of the Globe Theater.
"Huzzahs" are sent from audience to players as the Bard’s
performance reaches its hysterical finale, and once again you’re
strolling the lanes of the Shire. Then, from atop a hill, a burly gamesman
dares you to accept his challenge of archery marksmanship. Coming closer,
you discover a full gaming village for young and old, where crossbow, ax
toss, giant sling shot, the quintaine and other tests of your Renaissance
Drama and Action
No matter to whom you speak, you find yourself drawn deeper into the
suspense and drama of two powerful men vying for the hand of the Queen in
Having learned at
Court early in the morning that, while the day is to proceed in merriment,
the two men who would call Bess their wife have agreed to a Match of Human
Chess at which each nobleman may prove his cunning, prowess and worthiness
to be the Queen’s King. With a huge assemblage gathered to witness the
Human Chess Match, the two suitors begin to call out the moves of their
chessboard armies. When a piece is captured, a confrontation of brain or
brawn ensues with the winner of the square emerging from a battle of
broadsword, rapier and dagger, or even cutting insults.
fills the air of this English village.
Foul play and
trickery leave no choice but for Elizabeth to call a halt. She commands
the two sides to meet at Bosworth Field, where jousting knights on
horseback, scores of armed combatants, exploding cannons and an outright
melee of special effects and stunts determine who shall have the privilege
of escorting Her Majesty to the Grand Finale. There, as one final display
of song, dance and gaiety concludes the day’s festivities, Elizabeth
shall announce Her intentions as to taking on a husband.
Fun Being Part of the Show
When departing through the castle gates, bringing your visit to the 16th
century to an end, you realize that you’ve come face to face with 100’s
of colorfully costumed characters who have made you smile and feel at home
during your stay.
the human gauntlet of wenches, rouges, fire eaters, sword swallowers,
jugglers, wooers, Lords, Ladies and mongers of all sorts, you recall your
own audition that day for a role in a Shakespearean production. You wink
at the marriage broker who would have had you betrothed to the mud beggar
had you allowed. You shake the hand of a knight in full armour, wondering
how he could possibly carry all that weight, ride a horse, and joust all
at the same time. But, most important, you leave sensing that for at least
a few short hours you’ve left behind the cares and concerns of everyday
fantasy of the Faire unfolds Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 18, 19 and
20 and continues Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day Monday through October
15. The villagers welcome Her Majesty at 10 AM and bid a fond "fare
thee well" to everyone at 6:30 PM. Adult admission is $18.95.
Children ages 5 through 11 are admitted for $7.00. A $2.00 adult discount
applies to all adults who come in period costume. Parking is free.
The Faire is set amidst the
splendor of the formal gardens of Mount Hope Estate and Winery, Route 72,
15 miles north of Lancaster and 14 miles east of Hershey, one-half mile
south of PA Turnpike Exit 20. For advance tickets and further information
including specially themed weekends during the Faire season, call (717)
665-7021 or visit the Faire’s web site at www.parenfaire.com.
learn from a noble.
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