Welcome to our new web site!

To give our readers a chance to experience all that our new website has to offer, we have made all content freely avaiable, through October 1, 2018.

During this time, print and digital subscribers will not need to log in to view our stories or e-editions.

DOÑA ANA ARTS COUNCIL

49th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire goes virtual this November

Posted

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!  the 49th annual renaissance artsfaire, laid siege by the covid plague, will now be a virtual event on the 7th of november, 2020. The faire shall offer many festivities, yet at a safe social distance on thy computer contraption.  We hath set eyes on a glorious 50th faire next year in November 2021. It would please us greatly if you would stay thee watchful for more edicts from the Queen.  Huzzah!

Translation:

Announcement!  The 49 Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire, due to the COVID pandemic, will be a virtual event on November 7, 2020.  Many fun activities will be offered, but at a safe social distance from your computer. We are looking forward to a spectacular 50th Faire next year in November 2021.  Please watch for more details on how to participate.  Hooray!

There won’t be a dragon in the lake this year, but Magellan will come roaring back bigger and better than ever in 2021.

To protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Doña Ana Arts Council (DAAC) has decided that the 49th annual Renaissance ArtsFaire will be a virtual event on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, DAAC Communication Director Kathleen Albers said.

“Many fun activities will be offered, but at a safe social distance from your computer,” Albers said. “We are looking forward to a spectacular 50th Faire next year in November 2021.”

“We hope that good health and safety will be reasonable expectations by this November, but we know that a ‘normal RenFaire’ will simply be impossible this year,” said DAAC Executive Director Greg Smith.

Smith said DAAC staff are still refining details for the virtual event, but added, “We are expecting that those who join us for a virtual renaissance experience this year will thoroughly enjoy a range of activities: learning experiences with a focus on the arts and cultures of both Europe and the Americas 500 years ago in our Feed Your Mind series; some exciting offerings to be auctioned; costume contests focusing mainly on traditional Renaissance garb, but also introducing what was being worn on this side of the Atlantic; a wide range of video connections to how and why artists and performers do what they do; and a number of video ads for artists and vendors.”

The virtual RenFaire is also expected to include videos of jousting and other medieval and renaissance activities. The crowning event will be the live, online auction of several great works of art, including drivable art on wheels, appropriately named “Baby, You Can Drive My Art!”

Smith said more details are forthcoming.

“I have been involved in the Renaissance Faire for over 30 years and have loved engaging with the faire goers as their queen,” said Sherry White. “The RenFaire has become an intricate part of Las Cruces History in its 49 years. It is one of those mainstays that people can plan a vacation around and look forward to every year. In our hectic world, the visitor to our faire can step back in time for a few hours and experience the music, fashion, manners and delights of a time gone by. We are all planning an immense celebration for the 50th RenFaire next year and will look forward to meeting and mingling with the visitors to  the Queen's Court yet again.”

“The way we experience entertainment has changed dramatically with the pandemic,” said Las Cruces musician Randy Granger, who has been performing at RenFaire since 1998. “We are forced to be even more creative in how artists and audiences experience each other. Most of the festivals I had been scheduled to perform at this year have gone virtual via livestreaming or recorded performances and workshops. Instead of cancelling the Renaissance Faire, the highlight of our fall fiesta season, we are also going virtual involving as much of the familiar acts and activities as possible along with new ones to keep folks interested. I know major touring acts who are postponing touring for a while. No one knows with certainty when we will all be able to have crowds again. In the meantime, we are working hard to provide some entertainment and community with Ye Ole Virtual Renaissance Faire and hope everyone joins us. Being online will increase our audience exposure worldwide. That is exciting.”

RenFaire is an annual fundraising event produced by DAAC since 1971. It has been held for many years at Young Park. One of the event’s most popular attractions is always Magellan the Dragon.

Diven built, launched and maintained the original dragon for more than 25 years, before creating a new robotic dragon, in partnership with the New Mexico State University College of Engineering and the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, turning over its continued maintenance to Doña Ana Community College’s Engineering Manufacturing Program led by DACC Engineering and Manufacturing Department Chair Luis Meza.

With a budget of less than $1,000, Diven built the dragon out of chicken wire, upholstery fabric and plywood, using a Peterbilt truck horn to give him a mighty roar.

Early on, Diven enlisted the assistance of Boy Scouts in canoes helping to hook up the dragon once it was placed in the lake at Young Park. Canoe rides became an annual part of RenFaire as a result.

Diven said the name for the dragon came from a children’s contest the year the dragon was made. The two finalists were “Magellan” and “Pants on Fire,” Diven said. “I chose Magellan because it was an elegant name,” he said, and because it honored Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who organized the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe in 1522.

“As The Ratcatcher Robert, my whole patter was about a deadly plague sweeping the world and how it changed everything: economies, systems of rule, language,” said Bob Diven, who portrayed Ratcatcher Robert beginning in 1996 until retiring him in 2019. “Our current pandemic has put  huge parts of our regular lives on a deep hold, and in a way that gnaws at our essential humanness: it isolates us from our community. The Renaissance ArtsFaire is one of the communities within our community, and is as much an annual reunion of volunteers and friends as an art event. I don't really know how much of that communal experience can be captured in a virtual way, but I know we have to try. Until, as Queen Elizabeth (the current, living one) said "We'll meet again.”

For more information, call 575-523-6403. Visit www.daarts.org.