Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the wiles and charms of the Elizabethan era. This year, the Much Ado About Sebastopol Faire will entertain for a full weekend, Sept. 22 and 23. The event is a fundraiser for the Sebastopol Educational Foundation, in conjunction with the Guild of St. George, Northern Chapter.
The little 16th century English town of Fenford awaits and the local folk will be getting very merry. They will be celebrating the Feast of St. Michael, a time to relax and play after gathering the crops from a bountiful harvest.
Queen Elizabeth will pass through town with the Earl of Leicester following a hunt. When asked if she would be gracing the townsfolk and visitors with her presence, Her Majesty exclaimed, “We delight in walking among our people! Our Royal Progress – on foot – will bring us to the very gates of the fair. We shall greet all and sundry along the way and look forward to many delightful conversations during our stay at the Royal Pavilion within the market fair.”
Period entertainment will be in full swing on the open-air stage. Music, dance, and theater of the era include merry singers, Brass Farthing, English Country Dancing, and scenes from William Shakespeare’s plays. The Bard himself will be around, so keep an eye out.
Artistic Director, Rydell Downward, says “Our acts are selected from those who best evoke the spirit of the age, and we are proud to feature many local performers, as well as those from the schools who benefit directly from this event.”
There are games and activities for kids of all ages (read: the kid in all of us). From Archery to Castle Siege, Twilziewop to Rat-a-pult (to satisfy your curiosity, that’s pillow fighting and launching stuffed rats with a trebuchet respectively).
Head to the Guild Garden to learn about leathercraft, weaving, bobbin lace, and more or join one of the workshops on topics like Fencing and Elizabethan English. Make a craft to take home, whatever your age, with the Builder’s, Craftsman, or Apothecary Guilds.
The Pip & Vine Tavern will be an outdoor spot to relax in and imbibe. Hard ciders, beers, and wines will be on offer.
Vicki Vaughn, who runs the tavern, says “It’s a great complement to our apple heritage with our own local Ace Ciders, Lagunitas signature beers as well as some of the finest wines from more than 23 local wineries.”
Here, you can also have a look at the wine auction, bid on local boutique wines and signed magnums – all for the benefit of the Sebastopol school enrichment programs.
While Fenford may be an imaginary portal to past times, you’ll still be anchored in Sonoma County with a fabulous assortment of food and refreshments to keep you going: from oysters to local Willie Bird turkey legs and crepes to Sebastopol Cookie Company treats.
Saturday’s admission will allow you to stick around for a special performance and live auction from 6 to 10 p.m. at the main stage and Pip & Vine Tavern. A special dinner of period food prepared by La Bodega/Sonoma Wine Shop chef Rick Vargas can be purchased for an additional charge.
While costumes are purely optional, if you happen to have a ruff, doublet, kirtle, or partlet, it is bound to enhance your experience.
The commitment of the faire’s players to the detail of their costumes will delight. A number of vendors will supply timely accessories like floral head garlands, chain mail, whatever you fancy. Stop by the Photo Booth to rent some Renaissance wear for a keepsake photo.
Much Ado About Sebastopol Renaissance Faire
7400 Wilow Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Single Day, $12 Adults, $7 Students (ages 6-14)
Weekend, $20 Adults, $10 Students
Children under 6 free
Visit the website to find out about presale discounts, VIP tickets, and more.