I remember the original Virginia Renaissance Faire. Everyone tells me that it ran for three seasons, while I remember that it ran for four. (Mostly because I remember which dates I took to the faire.)
The Virginia Renaissance Faire (VARF for short) was owned by Renaissance Entertainment Corporation. (REC for short.) REC had a number of faires throughout the US, traded on the stock market, and even had their own Visa card. When they came to Virginia, I thought this was the biggest thing ever. I was even approached and asked to work at VARF the first two years. (I turned it down, but that is a story for another time.)
I remember so much about this faire, and I've forgotten so much. Not too far from the entrance was a herb garden. Somewhere I have a photograph of my friends and I against a stone wall next to that garden.
I used to try to catch every show by a performer who went by the name of Rollo Pollo or Rolo Polo. He changed his stage name and I caught his act later up at Tuxedo/NYRF, and for the life of me I can't recall what that new "name" is. (Heck, I found his Facebook page a few weeks ago.) As a matter of fact, I took to carrying around a lighter just so he would take it from me for his act.
This was where I first heard the Minstrels of Mayhem. I didn't appreciate them as much as I should have initially. But they grew on me and I have every single one of their CD's. They broke up a few years ago and I took it a bit personally.
I remember the mud beggars. I remember someone on stilts dressed as a tree. I remember the jousts, the storytellers, the arts and crafts. I remember the people and the playtrons.
The last time I was on the site was to do clean up work. Out Of The Woodwork Productions tried to restart the VARF and was in talks to rent the site. There were so many of us cleaning up and cutting grass by hand. Someone had brought a tractor in to bushhog, and the tractor had issues. Someone had stolen a very expensive electrical panel, and caused extensive damage taking it out. I was upset at myself because I didn't walk the entire site, but consoled myself with the fact that I'd be back another day to volunteer to get the park back together.
Unforturnately, talks between OotWW and REC fell through. OotWW is now hosing a smaller VARF in Spotsylvania which includes a number of the original staff, so the dream still lives on.