Merrymakers from all around came to experience the magic of the Elizabethan era
—A summertime destination for family fun, The Central Coast Renaissance Festival (CCRF) is one of the longest-running festivals in SLO County with roots reaching back over three decades. The Central Coast Renaissance Festival celebrated it’s 34th year, at Laguna Lake Park, earlier this month. CCRF continues to be one of the very finest Renaissance festivals in California, outliving many that have come and gone in other cities and towns, and growing in attendance and offerings each year.
Festival organizer, Rick Smith shared, “The goal has always been to stay simple, and true to the theme, of the Elizabethan Era. Past festivals were held at El Chorro Regional Park for 27 years, and now find a home at Laguna Lake Park since 2013.” He continued, “I’m very proud that we have 34 years going. Over this time we have built up a loyal customer and fan base. History can be alive, and discovering our Renaissance Festival gives guests and history a whole new perspective.”
Historically, Renaissance festivals are an educational experience, which aim to accurately relive the era in many aspects. The English Renaissance has built a community around the love of history and revival of old artforms, notably full of flowering poetry, music, and literature. The era is full of theatre, like William Shakespeare and many others. It was an age of exploration, and expansion, which make it such a fascinating time to study and recreate. England spread abroad, to establish colonies under the English monarchy including The New World, to further England’s empire.
Boasting around 85 booths, the Renaissance Festival had 65 vendors and over 25 acts performing across four stages. Pirates camped out, mermaids lounged, and peasants cheered on as knights jousted near the breezy shores of Laguna Lake Park. Swords, chain mail, and armor could be seen all around. New additions to the fair like the falcon show, buccaneer boot camp, costume contest and a children’s treasure hunt provided a weekend of excitement for the thousands of visitors to the festival. Patrons flocked to Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo to see and participate in the fabulously fun and unique Renaissance Festival. From the Queen’s Court to juggling shows, a wide variety of adventure lay waiting to be discovered.
Patrons dressed in their finest accouterments, stepping back in time to an age when elaborately adorned nobles strutted, salty wenches sang, and knights challenged each other on horseback. The immersive experience of the Central Coast Renaissance Festival featured food and drink fit for a King (or Queen), with entertainment of all sorts to tantalize the senses. Aside from being well fed and entertained, guests of the Renaissance festival come away with a new perspective, learning history, and tasting life from long ago.
“The Renaissance Festival builds confidence in the performers and community. The neat thing about it is anyone can do it, come dressed up and be a whole new person. You may be shy in daily life, but once you are in a costume you can be a different person, whether it is a peasant, nobility, or pirate, and experience a whole new world.” Shared Smith.