Winslow Shire Festival for the Animals

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Winslow Shire Renaissance Faire

A Festival for the Animals

by Gia Volterra de Saulnier

Nestled amongst the shady woods of the Winslow Animal Farm Sanctuary occurred the first ever Winslow Shire Renaissance Faire on June 28th and 29th of 2008.

Debra White, the president and owner of The Winslow Farm opened in 1996 contacted Richard Saulnier aka Arthur Bumbly Phinn to create a Renaissance Faire for the farm as a fund raiser. The farm hoped the faire would raise monies for operating expenses and raise community awareness of their work.

All of the animals at this farm are rescued, formally abused or abandoned. Ms. White and her staff provide these animals with a comfortable environment and quality of life.

From June 28th and 29th of 2008, the farm became a medieval village, with merchants pavilions and performers, from the many eras of the Renaissance period. The garbed re-in-actors, along with the many visitors – some wearing period outfits, others out of place in modern wear, had a taste of true medieval living. The free roaming animals of this farm made it look as if one was wandering about in a small village tucked in by shady trees, on the edge of a lake.

Notable performers included story tellers Bumbly Phinn, Sir Robert of Artemis Glen and Kate of Antika Nueva,; Magician Ed the Wizard; Shakespeare; Pirates; Musicians Shaunough, The Harper and the Minstrel, Dirge Queen, The Bawdy Buccaneers. The crowd was also entertained by wandering performers by Rufus the mud beggar and Guy Todd. The local Martial Arts Academy, Red Dragon demonstrated their tricks throughout the tow day event..

The vendors were spread out with pavilions and tents added even another element for wonderful wares like soap, clothing, swords, marshmallow cross bows, and jewelry.

The plan is to start small for the first year and to grow each additional year. 2008 was a grand success that had over 400 guests. Including about 150 guests arriving in period dress. The comments from fellow Rennie’s that attended were very pleased and entertained.

In respect of the many two and four legged animals in attendance, the faire menu was all vegetarian. Faire goers enjoyed Vegetarian Chili, Corn Chowder, and baked potatoes that were very tasty. Thirst was quenched via dollar cups of orange spice iced tea and mint lemonade, and juice. As a family friendly event, no alcohol was available for sale, and was not missed by the attendees.

General admission for the faire was $10.00 for Adults, $5.00 for Children 5 through 12, and Children 4 and Under were free. There were special admissions, a two day pass could be had for $15.00, patrons arriving in renaissance attire, received half price admission.

As a family friendly event, the farm and the directors decided on a dry faire, meaning no alcohol was provided. Soda, water, lemonade, iced tea and juice were the refreshments and they were only $1.00 per cup.

This faire is based on a festival, in a small local town, where you would normally not find nobility. However, using the land and it’s natural surroundings they set up a festival with independent acts and merchants about. However, we did have Pirates about. Everyone seemed to enjoy a simple faire without major plot or sovereignty. Patrons who have been to other renaissance faires liked the idea of seeing old friends and making new ones.

The farm owner and directors were pleased with the event. The Sanctuary will be holding a second Faire in 2009 for June 27th and June 28th of 2009. The directors of the faire are in the planning stages, and are currently looking for sponsors for this grand event grow. All money donated will be tax deductible for the farm is registered non profit organization, and a worth while cause.

For more information, please contact Bumbly Phinn at bumblyphinn@comcast.net or your intrepid reporter Jass Phinn at giazz@comcast.net .

I am already looking forward to next year’s faire. Seeing old friends, making new ones, and walking around the grounds of this enchanted farm once again. Mark your calendars for next year’s Festival for the Animals at Winslow Animal Sanctuary, at 37 Eddy Street, Norton, MA on June 27th and June 28th of 2009.

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