The Northern California Renaissance Faire has fought off
extinction and will return next autumn to Casa de Fruta, just east
Gilroy – The Northern California Renaissance Faire has fought off extinction and will return next autumn to Casa de Fruta, just east of Gilroy.
Faire organizers were worried that the 2005 edition would be the last, but a spike in attendance and a 30 percent increase in revenue convinced them to come back next year.
“It was really good for us,” said the faire’s marketing director, Michael Gardner. “We were hoping to do better than last year and we did better than what our hopes could have been.”
Total attendance for the faire’s six weekends was about 47,000, up from 40,000 in 2004. Gardner said the faire benefited from better weather and word of mouth.
“I think last year a lot of people didn’t know the faire was still going on,” Gardner said. “And we cast a wider net with our advertising. We went after a higher income bracket and that panned out for us.”
Before this year, the faire’s short history in the South Valley had been a troubled one. In 2003, the Renaissance Entertainment Corp., the company that put on the fair and others like it in San Bernardino, Chicago and New York, pulled the plug on the northern California show, citing falling attendance and a precipitous drop in revenue.
But unwilling to let the faire die, and convinced that they could do a better job, the show’s actors and vendors rallied together to form a new company, one that they say is the only participant-owned fair production in the nation.
“I think what we’re looking for to call ourselves a real success is to have 60 or 70,000 people coming through the gates,” Gardner said. “As long as we’re making progress, we’ll stick with it.”