Grab your family and friends, dress in your finest medieval garb, and join your fellow royalty at the Doña Ana Arts Council’s 46th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire, Saturday and Sunday, November 4 and 5, at Young Park in Las Cruces. You’ll be part of the Elizabethan era. You find yourself surrounded by peasants and nobles of the kingdom enjoying a pleasant day at the faire, perusing arts and crafts, being astonished by magicians and jousters, gnawing on turkey legs, and cheering on Robert the Ratcatcher as he flings the pesky vermin with his ratapult.
The 46th faire offers something for everyone, with fine art and handcrafted items created by artists from around the Southwest (not all related to the era you’re visiting that weekend), delicious food offered by and supporting area non-profit organizations, entertainment on several stages — including the return by popular demand of jousting on horseback, a beer and wine garden with local brews, and the rejuvenated Magellan the Dragon. The gates will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.
This family-friendly event welcomes those who wish to dress in period costume as well as visitors who would rather stay true to 2017 while observing life as it was five centuries ago during the Renaissance period. There’s plenty for the wee ones to do with a special Children’s Realm featuring activities and entertainment, a scavenger hunt, petting zoo, and canoe rides offered as a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts where they can get up close to Magellan.
Everyone will want to explore the two Royal Realms and the Middle Eastern Village to visit with the knights and ladies and watch period dances and other entertainment. Each day at 1 p.m. there is a royal procession and everyone in costume is invited to join in the parade.
The Order of Epona will return for two shows daily of jousting on horseback, giving faire visitors an opportunity to experience the entertainment of Renaissance royalty. Jousters will charge each other while mounted on sturdy steeds, seeking to knock each other from their horses. Visitors can rowdily cheer on the knight of their choice and perhaps bestow the winner with a favor. The Society for Creative Anachronism and Amptgard will also show visitors how medieval battles took place.
The Greyhounds of Fairhaven will again be at the faire, spotlighting rescued racing greyhounds who are now enjoying a life of leisure and showing their regal side. Hawkquest returns as well, giving visitors the opportunity to be up close and personal with majestic birds of prey. The kids will also enjoy visiting with animals at the petting zoo.
There will be dozens of artists offering arts and crafts of all kinds, including a wide range of current arts and period crafts. Artists must qualify to participate in the faire, ensuring that only the best of regional arts and crafts will be available.
Four stage areas will feature continuous entertainment throughout the weekend, offering the opportunity to pull up hay bale and relax while eating delicious food from the food booths.
Support young artisans aged 16 and under, who may apply to peddle their wares in the Children’s Realm without a booth fee. Young artists may contact the Doña Ana Arts Council to find out how they can participate in the Peddlers’ Market.
Dozens of food booths in two areas will ease the hunger and quench the thirst of faire-goers. All food booths must be run by non-profits, even if they partner with a local restaurant, so you can enjoy a meal while supporting your favorite non-profit organization. Those who want to relax and sip an adult beverage or two can spend time in the Dragon’s Eye Tavern and sample local wines and beers. Tavern hours have been expanded to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, so adults can stay after the faire closes to enjoy a refreshing drink.
Avoid parking at Young Park by taking advantage of a free park and ride, the Royal Carriage, running between the southwest corner of the Mesilla Valley Mall and Young Park. There is limited parking onsite at the park and parking volunteers will be there maintaining order in their appointed realm.
The 46th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire is a bargain, with tickets only $10 per person and children 12 and under entering for free. Coupons are available in advance at the DAAC office at a discounted price of two for $15. Make the weekend even more special by purchasing a VIP package: $60 includes all-access passes for two people, access to the VIP area at the tavern with refreshments and up-front views of the main stage, plus a special area to watch jousting, preferred parking for one vehicle, and two vintage Ren Faire T-shirts. A VIP pass for one person is $35. To purchase the VIP pass, visit the DAAC Arts and Cultural Center office at 1740 Calle de Mercado, Suite B-D or go to www.daarts.org.
With 46 years of experience, the Renaissance ArtsFaire is a proven family favorite. Head to Young Park November 4 and 5 for an immersive experience in days of yore.
More information can be found online at www.daarts.org or by calling (575) 523-6403.
The Doña Ana Arts Council is located at 1740 Calle de Mercado, Suite B-D, Mesilla, New Mexico (next door to Paisano Café in the Bulletin Plaza). Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.daarts.org or call 575-523-6403.