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Renaissance Festival


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I've been told East Kern is experiencing a renaissance, but this is ridiculous.

Each of three courses boasts four to five dishes
While it is primarily aerospace and new advances in technology that get the headlines in the high desert, for one weekend a year the fine folks in California City roll the clock back, and I mean waaaay back. Like, about 500 years.

Each fall the California City Renaissance Festival takes patrons back to sixteenth century England. Keep in mind that travel is figurative Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman aren't showing up with the Way-Back Machine (obscure pop culture reference number one) but a talented group of re-enactors will help to create the illusion of stepping back in time to the era of Queen Elizabeth I.
Fast becoming one of the most anticipated outdoor events in the high desert, the sixth annual festival will be held October 18 and 19 at California City's Central Park.

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The California City Arts Commission and California City Parks and Recreation Department team up for the festival, with assistance from the Kern County Board of Trade and California City Economic Development Corporation. That's a lot of backing for a really big shoe (obscure pop culture reference number two). More than 3,000 folks are expected to attend.

Now this may sound like a bunch of people running around in funny costumes, but you'd shell out $200 just in gasoline to see the same thing on Hollywood Boulevard or Castro Street, and the show isn't nearly as good.

Performances range from comedy and magic to belly dancers. There's plenty of hearty food and drink, and original and unique merchandise can be found at the peddler's fair. But the big draw is likely to be a historical recreation of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I.

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The Guilde of Sainte Marie returns this year as the Court of Elizabeth I, joined in support by the House of Tudor. While you may not know these names locally, on the renaissance circuit this is like going to see Aerosmith on a double bill with Kiss.

The SoCal-based Guilde of Sainte Marie is a not-for-profit society dedicated to the portrayal of noble class life during the height of the Renaissance Period. The Guilde is highly sought, performing at 12-15 events annually.

The House of Tudor, based in the Central Valley, specializes in the portrayal of a noble household specifically that of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. Combined, the two groups provide a fusion of styles and atmosphere unique to the California City event.

Add in The Biggin's Guilde (recreation of peasant life) and the Guilde of Evan (children's arts and crafts) and you've got the festival equivalent of Woodstock.

Also featured will be the Queen's Banquet. In its third year, the banquet has quickly become a festival staple. Each of three courses boasts four to five dishes, and in keeping with the coronation theme, this year's banquet is themed "St. George and the Dragon," in honor of the patron saint of England.

For all that goes on, the cost is minimal. Admission is just $3, and donation of a canned food item is worth $1 off. Gates open daily at 11 in the morning with festivities concluding at 6 pm on Saturday and 5 pm on Sunday. Tickets to the Queen's Banquet, held Saturday from 6:30 to 9 pm, are sold separately on a presale basis for $25.

For more information, call (760) 373-3530, or e-mail parksandrec@ccis.com. Check out the festival web site at www.calcityrenfair.org.

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