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7:42 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Renaissance fair trips lightly through medieval times

Courtesy Photo

Wild men work the crowd with their energetic form of silliness and merriment.

For instance, the three Tortuga Twins (yes, three) are only half the entertainers in the "Little Red Riding Hood" skit. Twins coaxed audience members into playing grandma, the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood in a version of the story that doesn't quite follow the children's book.

In the Renaissance Festival version, "granny" is a beautiful, young, well-endowed blonde who runs off with the wolf. The wolf is played by a 240-pound man who one of the twins thought should be "cat-butt-in-your-face-first- thing-in-the-morning ugly."

He wasn't that bad. And all three drafted actors played along beautifully in the slightly skewed script.

Early on, one of the three twins spoke briefly to children in the audience, all sitting on bales of hay. He wickedly told youngsters "if everybody is laughing and you don't understand why, promise me you'll pester mommy and daddy until they explain it to you!"

Incidentally, Little Red Riding Hood was 50-ish if she was a day, and her "sashay" to the wicked wolf evoked a howl just as lusty as the wolf howl he gave to the beautiful blonde granny.

The festival rated the Fairhaven Theatre Tortuga Twins show "LC" for "loose cannon – parental guidance suggested."

The festival offers shows starting at 10:15 a.m. through 5 p.m. on 12 different stages. An Irish folk singer, Gypsy minstrel, comedy teams, a singing executioner, Silly Singing Nuns, a hurdy-gurdy team, Scottish country dancers, Highland dancers, puppet and parrot adventures, Sword Swallowing by Thom Selectomy, Middle Eastern dance, glass blowing, magic shows, jugglers, a harpist, songs for children and a Bawdy Balladeer are among the acts that perform throughout the day. The festival opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m.

The King's Tournament Arena features stunt riders as jousting knights and there is pub singing, dancing pageants, a king's royal processional and "Pfilup Pfuluvit-Shakespearean Pfoolishnes."

The medieval arts and crafts fair features more than 200 shops offering wares that range from wooden swords and shields for the youngsters to 16th century style costumes and corsets, pottery and jewelry.

The Piccolo Pony, Da Vinci's Flying Machine, the Swan Swing, face painting, butterfly ride, Jacob's ladder and Slider Joust are just for kids. For kids of all ages, there are live elephants and camels to ride. Feel like throwing a ripe tomato at a peasant in the stocks?

Head for "Vegetable Justice." Visitors throw tomatoes while the peasant hurls insults back at them.

Visitors may eat fish and chips, roasted turkey drumsticks, sausage, chicken, onion rings, ice cream, crepes, pizza, bakery items, steak-on-a-stake and many other food items. A variety of soft drinks, beer and wine also is available.

It's an entertaining step back into a century past. Just don't get confused at seeing the Superstition Mountains behind the jousting knights and a stunt plane trailing smoke above the king's arena.

Contact Dorine Goss at dgoss@prescottaz.com

If thou goest:

Take the Superstition Freeway (Highway 60) east past Apache Junction to the Festival Village. Signs mark the route. Tickets are $16 at the gate; $15 in advance at Fry's with your VIP card. Children younger than 5 get in free, and advance admission is $5 for youngsters aged 5 to 12. Parking is free.

A trip to the festival via a chartered bus with movies and snacks, sponsored by the Prescott Parks and Recreation Department, leaves from the Prescott Activity Center (824 E. Gurley St.) at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, and returns at 7:30 p.m. Cost includes transportation and admission. Adults: $28, children ages 5-12: $18. Information: 777-1122.