"We've prepared another great faire with local and national performers, jousters, merchants and period craftspeople," said Bob Stanza, president of Renaissance St. Louis, the nonprofit organization that presents the faire every spring. "There will be entertainment for all ages, along with opportunities to learn about the French Renaissance from our cast, who will join our guests in everything from dancing to sword-fighting."
As visitors stroll the streets of "Petit Lyon," they will meet King Francois and his royal court, plus merchants, soldiers, peasants, villagers and gypsies. Visitors are entertained by knights jousting on horseback, comedians, strolling minstrels, storytellers, sword-swallowers, belly dancers, and several nationally-known bands. Activities include shopping, food, children's games, demonstrations of crafts and weapons, and more. The volunteer cast of the St. Louis Renaissance Faire and a bevy of professional entertainers and merchants have banded together to create an adventure for the whole family.
New this year is a redesigned wharf area of the town, as a crew of roistering mariners re-enact the naval life of the Renaissance. The first weekend, May 19-20, is Pirate Weekend to celebrate.Most Renaissance Faires throughout the U.S. are set in Tudor or Elizabethan England. But inspired by St. Louis' French heritage, the St. Louis Renaissance Faire takes place in France during the reign of Francois I, a great patron of the arts who brought the Renaissance arts and science to his country.
"We have a tremendous volunteer cast who really make the festival come alive, portraying characters from all walks of Renaissance life," said Stanza. "There are ladies and gentlemen of the court under the eye of watchful guards, tradespeople struggling to earn a living, along with those who beg in the streets. And if you look carefully you may even catch a glimpse of a fairy in the enchanted forest."
Among the various "neighborhoods" of Petit Lyon are the Faerie Woodland, the Royal Pavilion, military encampments of Scottish troops and German mercenaries, the gypsy camp, the wharf, and the joust field.
The Faire takes place in Rotary Park May 19-20, May 26-28, June 2-3, and June 9-10. Tickets are $14.95 for the general public; $7.95 for children ages 6-13, and free for children ages 5 and under. Military, police, firefighters and seniors (65+) receive $2 off the adult price at the gate. Season passes for all four weekends are also available. Tickets may be purchased at the gate or in advance at renstl.org. Parking is free. For more information, call 636-928-4141.
Rotary Park is located at 2577 W. Meyer Road, Foristell, Mo., 63348.