By Bob Abbott
The Virginia Renaissance Faire has a long history of entertaining families, and this past Memorial Day weekend they welcome military members and veterans to enjoy the Faire for free.
The Renaissance Faire, located at Lake Anna Winery in Spotsylvania, Virginia, celebrated 500 years of military history this past weekend. In addition to free entrance for military members, the on-site militia had a variety of arms dating back to the 1500s. Guests are encouraged not only to touch, but to wear and use the various weapons.
Cornelia Rutherford began this Faire decades ago and regularly has 25,000 guests attend the show over its five-week run. With a variety of merchants, live jousting, a professional cast, and food for all, it is a family-friendly event sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
But for many, this Faire is more than just a spectacle. It’s a family.
“As a performer, I like how laid back the staff is. Everyone is so nice and laid back, it’s just like a family feel,” said Randy Wothke of the musical group The Rogues.
“We’re not like other fairs,” Cornelia Rutherford agrees.
“The fair is not the ground, it’s not the tents…it’s smaller, but it’s more intimate. We’re a family.”
It seems that the guests agree. On a rainy Sunday there were 1500 attendees, 900 more than any other rain day for the Faire.
Most surprising is that everyone working the Faire is a volunteer. From the parking lot attendants to the Queen herself, all the cast volunteer their time and costumes to put on the show.
For a veteran reassimilating back to American culture, a trip to England in the 1600s may be an unexpected way of coping. But the welcoming atmosphere makes veterans feel at home.
“I’ve been to Faires before back home,” said Geoff Rodgers, Australian Army Major, “but this one really makes me feel like part of the family. It’s just like home.”