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Celebrating 21 Years!

 

 

 

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.

Childhood dreams come true at the Faire!

 

On 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 moments.

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 attire.
Knights fall daily in a thrilling contest of lance and shield in the "Ultimate Joust."
 

35 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.

Before choosing 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.

 

Food, 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.

Flashing 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.

Hearty "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 mettle await.

 

Romance, 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 marriage.

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.

Romance 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.

It’s 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.

Walking through 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 life.

 

The marvelous 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.

Kids learn from a noble.

 

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