Thespians go back in time

Lasirra Hines, Blue M Editor-in-Chief

Thespians Troupe 941 attended the annual Kansas City Renaissance Festival on Sept. 20 in Bonner Springs. The theme for the weekend was Shamrocks and Shenanigans, symbolic of Irish culture.

The KC festival began in September of 1977, becoming one of the largest Renaissance festivals in the United States, with an annual attendance of approximately 200,000 festival goers. The event begins on Labor Day and continues for seven weekends, where each weekend celebrates a different theme.

Though some activities weren’t available due to COVID-19 restrictions, there were shows such as a fairy show, archery, axe throwing, jousting and a bungee trampoline. There was also a maypole visitors could participate in.

“[Maypole] is this dance with ribbons attached to a pole. You run around in a circle so all the ribbons wrap around the pole,” senior Hunter Phillips said. “Then you go back around and it’s said to release your wishes into the air.”

There were also different stands that visitors could go to and learn more about a certain time period, as well as shop for related items. The festival changes each year, so not all stands from the previous year are guaranteed to be there. 

Some stands had food that closely matched the traditional meals people would eat, such as roasts or bread bowls.

Thespian members dressed up for the event, some going as mythological creatures and others going as peasants of the time.

“You can be really creative and whimsical and can do almost anything you want. People are really nice about it,” junior Molly Swistek said. “I even met Thor at the festival.”

At the festival, entertainers wear costumes that resemble the period known as the “rebirth” in arts and perform events such as dances and jousting matches, getting into the character. 

“You get to have some pretty awesome interactions with the people that work the Ren Fair,” Phillips said.

One aspect about the festival that some enjoy is the ability to dress up and geek out without fear of judgement. 

“It was really fun just hanging out with a lot of friends and not caring about being judged,” Swistek said.

For some it’s their first time, and for others it’s the last they attend together. The first timers group is larger this time because they didn’t get to attend last year due to COVID.

“[Don’t] worry about what shops are going to be there and [know] that it’s more fun if everyone in the group gets to look around,” Phillips said. “The fun part about Ren Fest is not the things you can get. It’s just going out and hanging with friends.”