Students, thespians should take advantage of KC Renaissance Festival

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

People had barely begun arriving at the gates when we parked our car and left one of the only pieces of our time period behind us. Pirates stood above me on the balcony, peering down and interacting with their fellow privateers on the ground as they argued and boasted, introducing to us the characters of the festival we would grow to love and cheer for.

The grounds smelled of dirt, straw, barbequed meats and the fresh fall air when the king and queen led our way into the park with a fanfare. While the pirates taunted us with their humorous greetings, we listened to the gypsies in their dance, their brightly colored skirts jingling with the golden bells that covered them.

Behind the bells, we heard the minstrels sing, the jesters joke and we followed as the call of the many vendors lured us through the festivities.

These creative characters greeted my family and me as we began our day at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival only a few weeks ago. Our day of family fun was filled with shows, shops, jousting and legend’s favorite characters like Robin Hood and Captain Jack Sparrow.

It was an experience that threw together two separate time periods and created a world that invited us to revel in ages past.

From knights, dragons, dungeons, mermaids, fae, pirates and many mythical monsters, the fair seemed to have it all.

I was baffled and began to wonder, who was it that could bring to life such fabled fantasies and meld the ancient past into joy for others? Were they like carnies, traveling from town to town every year, or were they professional actors hired once a year? I had to know.

It was only after I arrived home and used Google to find the fair’s website that I found out an interesting truth. The workers and actors alike were people just like you and me. With help-wanted ads on the festival’s website for actors and hired hands, I realized that not only was this fair a great opportunity for family and fanatics, it was the perfect paid practice for me or any other fellow drama lover.

With a number of new and familiar character faces, the fair offers numerous acting opportunities in an easy and enjoyable environment. For a students honing their dramatic skills, festivals like these allow them to both enjoy a historical world and spread that joy to the constantly bustling and changing audience through characters that tease the imagination.

After going to the KC Ren Fest, I realized that it was a cause I had to share with other drama lovers. I fully recommend that anyone in love with the medieval and Renaissance times and looking to practice their dramatic arts or wishing they had a fun weekend job should visit the fair’s official website to get involved.