Renaissance Festival Worth The Trip



Rimaroos brave the traffic of the Valley for supply runs to Trader Joe's, doctor appointments, entertainment and shopping.

Lovers of 17th Century-style European country fairs and Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) members (the folks you see occasionally in Green Valley Park dressed as knights and fighting with swords) also brave the traffic to explore the delights of a village that exists for just two months out of every 12 -- Fairhaven.

Want to buy a dragon to sit on your shoulder? Need your hair or beard braided elaborately with a crown of flowers? Feel the need to juggle "stix"? Like to see knights charge each other on horses in tournaments?

Then head east from Apache Junction for your fix of all these and more.

There's food -- stand in line for half an hour and you, too, can show off your carnivorous appetite with a giant roasted turkey leg.

And there's people-powered games and rides. Your little knight can ride a wooden horse and try his hand at sneaking a ring hung from a pole. You can even throw tomatoes at the man in stocks insulting you.

And there's exhibits -- of blacksmithing, weaving, and period re-enactments.

But best of all are the shows.

"When he was alive he was perhaps the most notorious womanizer ever to prowl the earth," reads Bob's bio.

His name is ‘Ded Bob' and he is appearing four times daily in his ‘Sho' at the 18th incarnation of the Arizona Renaissance Festival.

Lover of Shakespearean parody Clark Orwick aka ‘Sluj' is the comedian responsible for breathing life into Ded Bob.

But truly, Sluj disappears into the background the moment Ded Bob engages the peasants, "Hey, audience!" ("Hey, what?" they respond.) Or he threatens them with his large mallet. Give him a dollar or he'll bonk you senseless.

At least one of the zombies he chooses from the audience to act out a parody onstage with him is, of course, a beautiful young woman.

"I look for smiling ninnies," Ded Bob said with his perpetual smile.

Of the live folk he trades showtimes with, he said, "They ain't Tortugas, they ain't twins.....they ain't even brothers."

Still, he's not adverse to buying them a pint.

"I would definitely buy them mead...because it's made with honey, a.k.a. bee poop."

My fine gentles and ladies, when the Tortuga Twins take over the Boathouse Stage, theirs is no ordinary comedy show.

Scaramouch, D'Angelo and Rafael aim to "up your comedy standards" with their renditions of Robin Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

The Tortuga Twins (yes, like Ded Bob, I can count -- there are three of them) have been honing their comedic skills since 1990.

Their swashbuckling merriment earned them first place in the First Annual (2005) Renaissance Performer Awards in the non-musical category. (Ded Bob bonked his way to second place.)

The family can also catch the comedic juggling acts of Clan Tynker on Teatro de la Rosa. (But children are cautioned not to try juggling fire sticks at home.)

The Altier Archers show off their skills William Tell-style.

Scratch, the village lout, wanders Fairhaven, banging pans in hope of alms.

Rimaroos can also see local resident Parry Morton in his mountain man personae.

The Festival is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through April 2. Adult admission at the gate is $20 American, not Eurodollars.

Festival tidbit

One can often tell the true Festival junques because their costumes extend to their shoes.

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