On the first day of 2016, Lake Havasu City ushered in a new event – the London Bridge Renaissance Faire – at Lake Havasu State Park’s Windsor 4. The event continues through Sunday.
A blustery breeze met event goers Friday at the hay-bale entrance gates and perimeter. The cooler temperatures only added to the Elizabethan-era atmosphere; the winds snapped the display of each flag hoisted that day.
A juggling jester made jokes to a small, yet engaged, crowd. Nearby, others practiced archery and target skills. Soon, dancing wenches and other performers replaced the jester’s antics.
A hay maze, face painting and turkey legs for grub were part of the event. Many in the medieval crowd donned sweeping gowns or simple frocks, fur-collared capes, tall laced-up boots, flowered crowns or feathered hats. Some wore dragon tails.
“I made that rope,” said 7-year-old Brian Higgins, of Las Vegas, as he pointed to a green coiled rope. “I had a lot of fun doing that.”
Higgins was accompanied by Havasu residents Paul and Elizabeth Stahalak. The three sought out the Faire with hopes of finding a jousting event, a dunk tank, and a comedian to throw tomatoes at. These were just a few things from another Renaissance Fair the Stahalak’s attended many years ago in Illinois. They were in luck with the jousting match; it was to begin at 4:15 that day.
Epona Equestrian Joust Team Head Marshal and Herald, Don “Sir John Calls Forth” Compogno, said the inaugural event is a smaller one by measure.
“It is smaller,” Compogno said, “But for a first-year event, you guys are outstanding.”
Compogno, of Spokane, Wash., said this is the farthest he and his daughter “Dame Eleanor” have traveled to perform at an event.
“Dame Eleanor” performs in the equestrian games. She rides her horse, Sienna, who has a mohawk haircut. Dame Eleanor’s dress was handcrafted by her mother. The jousting team consists of about 10 performers, the two said.
“We get to dress up and we love what we do,” Compogno said. “We try and get the crowd going. When the energy is up the horses perform better.”
Kristen Zoragoza, of California, is in town visiting family for the holidays and thought the Faire would be a fun outing for her children.
“It is fun,” Zoragoza said, “It’s a little cold and windy but I think it’ll be better when it warms up a little. We had tea with the Queen earlier.”
Dancing Dolphins Art owner and artist Cindy Farslow painted the faces of Zoragoza’s children Friday. She said she made the trip to Havasu for the first-time event because it sounded like it would be a fun time.
Other features of the event include life-sized rocking horses, fencing lessons, a bounce house, an advice desk, surname-history catalogs, and more. There were at least a dozen vendors open for business selling jewelry, pottery, costumes, hats, incense, medieval accessories, folklore statues and knick knacks, henna tattoos, and yard art.
Lake Havasu City Community Emergency Response Team is on hand to provide first-aid with about 20 volunteers through the weekend.
The event continues 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, at Lake Havasu State Park’s Windsor Four event grounds. Tickets are $12 at the gate, children 12-years-old and younger are granted free admission. Tea with the Queen is $5 (all ages), and tickets to the Royal Victory Breakfast is $5 (all ages). Parking is free.
The event is a charity event stemming from a Project Management class at the local Arizona State University campus. Lake Havasu City London Bridge Lions Club is the sponsor and beneficiary of the event’s proceeds. For more information, visit www.londonbridgerenfaire.com.
Photo Gallery by Rick Powell:
Photo Gallery by Jillian Danielson: