Blast from the Past at Casa de Fruta

Dakota Hopla, playing the Scottish knight, and Greg Hopla, playing the English knight, battle during the Queen's Royal Joust at the Tournament of Horses Arena Saturday at the Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta.

The Northern California Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta kicked off its opening weekend on Saturday in medieval fashion, literally.
The yearly month-long event is where the medieval-clothed and modern-clothed can walk freely together with little to no chance of strange looks.  It runs every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 13 at Casa de Fruta.
On its first Saturday last weekend, locals and people from all over the state came to enjoy the medieval-themed food, arts and entertainment.
Willingtown, as the “village” is called where the faire is held, looked like Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest and medieval England – complete with all of the tights and bodices that a Dark Ages lord would approve of.
The faire sold “cold drynks,” meat pies and blythe spirits (soaps), in addition to leather goods and jewelry that would make an English king jeolous. Port-o-Potties were known as “privies.” There were booths available for archery, knife throwing and star throwing, if you were so inclined. And what would a medieval faire be without pints of ale?
Additionally, there were troupes of dancers and folk singers performing old Irish and England ballads, in addition to a few pirate tunes as well. The self-described world’s greatest Russian circus – “The Magnificent Humble Boys” – entertained the crowd with jokes and tricks.
Finally, in the late afternoon, the Queen’s Royal Joust was held at the Tournament of Horses, where knights from England, Spain, and Scotland competed for the position of top knight in front of Queen Elizabeth, who, in this retelling, was having a celebration in honor of famed explorer Sir Francis Drake returning from his explorations.
According to event organizers, the concessions and traders are people the explorer brought back with him from abroad.
“We shall see jousting. We shall see horseback riding. And we shall see fighting from knights!” said the master of ceremonies.
Each knight chose a side of the crowd to protect. In return, each side dutifully cheered for their particular knight and booed the other knights.
“This is the best thing I’ve seen in my life!” said one onlooker.
“You will fight for honor, for glory, and you will fight to the death!” screamed the master of ceremonies. (No knights were harmed during the making of this production.)
“Hip hip…” the master of ceremonies yelled to the crowd.
“Huzzah!” the crowd responded, as if the heat of this particularly hot Saturday afternoon left the crowd little choice but to respond in kind.
The Spanish knight won the bout of jousting and sword-fighting, and the delighted onlookers screamed in jest.
The crowd then dispersed, presumably going about their merry ways.
FAIRE DETAILS:
The “faire” runs every weekend from Sept. 14 through Oct. 13 at Casa de Fruta. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission ranges from $25 for adults and children 12 and over and free for children younger than 12. Weekend passes are available for $35. For more information, go to norcalrenfaire.com.

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