Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Renaissance Faire – Ye Be There!

Good friends and companions, come join me in rhyme

Come lift up your voices in chorus with mine

Lets drink and be merry, all grief to refrain

For we may and might never all meet here again

Elizabethan Song

            As I promised both my readers and my good friend, Perryn Peterson, I return to the Renaissance Faire and Hunt in Second Life (SL) now that the fun and festivities have begun. 

I arrive shortly after the Faire has started, greeted by Perryn who is very excited over its successes.  As he should be.  Perryn quickly tells me over 16,500 visitors had come by with the first couple of days.  Very good results for a SL function and there are many Real Life (RL) Renaissance Faires that wish they could draw crowds like that.   

Leaving the arrival area we begin to make our way towards the Faire.  Renaissance music plays as we walk along adding to the festive mood already created by the colorful displays on the period buildings.  Cyndie Alter is the artist and has done a fine job in fitting out the Faire.  (She happens to be a commercial artist in RL.)  The natural looking landscaping adds to a vision of a pastoral scene long gone by.  Perryn did the “fitting out” of the Faire himself.  

The Renaissance Faire and Hunt are different from past hunts organized by Perryn.  Most notably, there is a whole sim as the starting location with its own mini-hunt.  Fifty vendors have set up shop in the Hunt to display their wares and services.  Thirty prizes await the intrepid hunters who complete the mini-hunt.  Then there's the actual hunt which is grid-wide and involves over 130 fine merchants who also have prizes for the intrepid hunters! 

A fork in the path lies in front of us, Perryn leads to the left and I follow.  We come upon three large buildings on our left crammed full of merchants and their wares.  I cannot do justice to all the goods on display and their craftmanship.  I encourage everyone to come and look and, maybe purchase, what is on display.  (Also, don’t forget to do the mini-hunt, you may very well win some of the items on display!) 

The three large buildings were set up by Perryn for the display of merchandise like furniture which does better in an indoor setting. The interiors are large, rectangular rooms with high ceilings that lend to the Renaissance feel.  Period Holiday decorations are situated near the main doorways.  Perryn has been careful to stay true to period settings and has avoided anachronisms like Santa Claus and his merry elves. (Thankfully, someone still has standards.)

In the first building, my attention is drawn to the women’s dresses and accessories which fill one end.  The second building contains pictures, furniture, with all the previous merchandise is unique and of high quality.  I recommend dropping by to see the stained glass windows by Solano Stained Glass that are for sale.  The third large building displays a dining room set by Cedar Bay Fine Furnishings where place settings can be selected for different numbers of guests and type of meal.  (This would come in very handy in RL.) Period clothes, household furnishings, and period buildings account for the remaining space.   

While visiting the buildings, Perryn takes me behind them to show the Faire’s tree house which is only accessible by a climbing rope.  (The Faire is a no fly zone.) I feel great finally being able to climb the rope that I never could in the high school gymnasium.  The views from the top are magnificent showing the attention to detail that has gone into laying out the site, its landscape, and buildings.   

Leaving the common area facing the buildings, Perryn takes me down to the shorefront where Marcel Ghostraven (no relation) has his ships on display.  Several men-of-war with rather serious looking cannons protruding from their sides await potential buyers.  Anyone looking to either take up a career as a pirate inworld or role play the Battle of Trafalgar should definitely drop by. 

As we walk along, Perryn explains to me how he sourced all these vendors and their goods by spending hours going through SL Marketplace looking for items which would be appropriate for the event and merchants willing to participate.   

Our next stop is the jousting lists run by Forester Lowenhart.  Jousts are done pretty informally, more or less, whoever happens to be there.  Although, Perryn tells that on December 16, 2011, there will be a multi-Medieval joust on this site. Forester can be contacted for details.   

From the jousts, we go to the fencing piste where anyone who wishes may try their hand at it.  (Trust me, it’s a lot safer than in RL.)   

Nearby, and close to my heart, is the Chained Library by Vian Magic.  It is a historically correct example of what libraries in the 1330’s were like right up until the invention of the printing press.  The attention to period detail and the variety of objects are incredible.  Another stop that I heartily recommend to all visitors.  This amazing Chained Library is Vian Magic's prize in the main hunt! 

Perryn now leads me on another circuit whereupon we pass the children’s area for storytelling and similar activities. (I wonder if I can get some of my stories read?) We then walk over to the mead and ale garden where food and drink are for sale.  The roasted pig on the spit over the fire is very well done.  I can almost smell the food being cooked.   

I am next presented with what Perryn himself describes as “incredible” and given all that I’ve seen so far is still an understatement.  We are standing in a meadow where blue and pink dots are arranged on the ground.  This is the area for period dancing.  This particular one is set up for eight couples to do the galliard, a period dance from the Renaissance.  Perryn finds a volunteer (thanks to Riendra Taselin) and proceeds to cut a rug as we once said.  Cyneswith Luik  is responsible for creating these period dances.   

While watching Perryn and Riendra dance, I try Cyneswith’s juggling animations and once again found myself doing something in SL that I could never do in RL.  (No snickering please.)   

Another example of Perryn’s attention to period is the small pond created by Mike Olbracht meant to provide water to the horses in the Gypsy camp and other participants.  In RL, he tells me, a function like this would have required a nearby supply of fresh water.  The landscaping around the pond and throughout the Faire are very natural looking and varied.  There is none of the cartoonish cookie cutter work seen in some sims.  Perryn is very generous in his praise of Faire’s landcaper, Mike Olbracht.   As he should because the landscaping alone makes a trip to the Faire worthwhile.   

Walking through the Gypsy encampment, I see one wagon offering Tarot card readings which adds a certain element of realism to the whole event.  This also makes me think about if one has their Tarot cards read in SL are they only for SL or for RL as well?  I’ll have to ask one of the Faire’s two Tarot card readers, NeferSif ,  and Chance Acoustic, sometime.   

After a brief chat with Perryn about other SL activities, I thank him and take my leave.  The Renaissance Faire and Hunt will be open until December 31, 2011 to be followed by a wrap party.  (Perryn throws great parties.)  Additional information about the Faire can be obtained at its blog.  The hunters’ gifts may be seen here.   

During my travels across SL, I’ve seen much.  However, I have never seen as much in one place inworld as I see in the Renaissance Faire and Hunt.  I encourage all who are interested in the Renaissance, are curious about what can be done in SL, or just want to have a good time to visit and see what is there.  I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed. 

I would like to thank Perryn Peterson for taking the time to take me through the Faire and tell me all about it.  As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.  

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
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Photo No. 1: Perryn Peterson

Photo No. 2: First Large Building – Clothing and Accessories

Photo No. 3: Second Large Building – Stained Glass on Display

Photo No. 7: View from Tree House  

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