April 27, 2018 at 1:21 p.m.
Watch the knights go at hand-to-hand combat...spend time with artisans, gypsies and Royals.
The Renaissance was an era when world exploration and learning began to be exercised in earnest. A new invention, paper, was put into general use, mariners had a compass now with which to navigate. In the 14th to 15th century the world moved out of the Middle Ages into a rebirth of intellect. Renaissance culture makes for an ideal backdrop for fairs or festivals.
The debut of Lakes Area Renaissance Festival or “LARF” is coming together quickly, under the guidance of a couple of local festival veterans, Rey Thompson and Matt Machtan. The two are better-known as the creative designer and seamstress behind Custom Koztumez and as “Knight Lord Gaylord Gower.” Thompson is a recent transplant from the suburbs to Lindstrom and Lord Gower is a Center City resident.
Not only are they pulling the LARF together, they’ll be in character at the event coming to Lindstrom May 11, 12 and 13.
“Lord Gower” has been active in Wisconsin Renaissance fairs for years and Rey is one of the go-to circuit designers, creating 15th century costumes and other beautiful apparel as well.
She explained that she found herself somewhat involved in the relocation effort of a Renaissance festival that takes place in Twig, MN. And, in talking with Lindstrom’s city administrator one day, mentioned she may be interested in a location for a festival in the Chisago Lakes region if at all possible.
A Renaissance fair might be able to use an emptied city bock where an industrial manufactured wall plant recently came down and combined with Lions Park next door-- it might be a good initial festival location.
Rey said, “The goal is to raise some money for a downpayment to buy some land in this region, where we can site a festival permanently,” she explained.
Machtan got word over social media of a possible shuffling of a festival location nearer to where he lives and (as any Knight ought to) -- offered his aid. The two have been reserving acts and equipment at a frantic pace ever since. Machtan said mostly locals have priority. Food vendors, wine-makers and actors/and those who make handcrafted goods who reside right here, will be featured. This even will be the first year that Thompson has been able to have her own booth. Ordinarily she is so busy doing costumes she doesn’t have time to pack up her special tools of the trade and transport them afar.
She looks forward to giving area artist and vendors a place to introduce themselves to festival-goers. “We’ll be helping them get their season off to a good start,” she said. The annual Chisago County Pottery Tour takes place this same weekend, and Rey looks upon this as complimentary to the festival. Hopefully Tour participants will come by LARF and vice-versa. The admission price is much less expensive than other more established, larger festivals, she continued, so you won’t have to spend the whole day to feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth of entertainment and atmosphere, Thompson said. At the same time, actors have more time to spend with festival-goers and merchants can converse with their customers.
Machtan added the acts and entertainment lined-up are non-offensive and geared to families. Kids love to interact with himself and his fellow Knights as they demonstrate their military physical skills. He loves it when young festival goers return year-after-year to take on the Knights and Lord Gower.
There are a couple of audition opportunities remaining before the LARF launch. Thompson and Machtan have utilized the Chisago Lakes Community Education building, at Akerson and Hwy 8 for auditions, Tuesday nights, at 6:30 p.m. The facility is reserved weekly-- so you must contact Thompson at Custom Koztumez to say you are coming-- 612-990-8927 or e mail [email protected].
The Royals-- Queen Elodea, Princesses and Handmaidens-- have been chosen in earlier auditions. But all sorts of minstrels and Renaissance characters are welcome to tryout. Come in dress or send a photo to Rey’s e mail of your outfit.
Admission to Lakes Area Renaissance Festival is $10 for adults, $4 for children and those younger than 6 can enter LARF at no charge. To buy tickets ahead see Larfmn.ticketleap.com.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday May 11, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday May 12 and 13.
The main gate will be at Lindstrom Community Center, by Lions Park pond. The festival is renting Lions Park and the vacant city block just to the south (to Goggle or use GIS put in 13292 Sylvan Avenue, Lindstrom MN 55045.)
Shuttles are also running from the middle school parking lot, bus garage and other sites. Visitors who are disabled should park at Plastic Products.
Want to help make this happen and get some business exposure too?
Sponsors, many which are local enterprises, are stepping forward with in-kind donations like water, ice or parking, in exchange for a mention on flyers, posters, etc. Sponsorships of cash donations are welcome. Thompson said in order to start building a down payment for property on which to permanently site the festival, $20,000 is an estimated sum.