Las Vegas News Bureau
Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Cannons fly and blacksmiths’ hammers clanged as beer-wielding bargoers and swashbuckling pirates mingled at Sunset Park.
But the year was 2019 — not 1700 — and decorated royalty, barefooted peasants and curious kids swarmed the Las Vegas park eager to browse the vendor villages and watch assorted performances.
These attendees were celebrating the historical English Renaissance, an era rejuvenated by the city’s annual Age of Chivalry Renaissance fair. The festival, after not happening in 2020 because of the pandemic, runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
“You only see them once a year, but they’re your family,” said Andrea Steinmuller, creator of Another Realm, which will sell handmade armor, necklaces, wooden swords, daggers and more at the event. “My kids grew up with it. … My grandkids could walk into any other vendor or any encampment and go, ‘I’m lost,’ and they would bring them right back to my booth.”
Returning to Sunset Park for its 27th weekend of merriment is something Brian Saliba, special events program administrator for Clark County Parks and Recreation, said he is most looking forward to.
“We lost quite a few of our vendors,” he said. “Their businesses, unfortunately, didn’t make it through the pandemic. But it’ll have a little bit of a different look and a different feel this year coming back, but we have almost all the same normal elements that you would expect to see coming to a fair like this.”
Age of Chivalry does not only offer of-the-period vendors and events, Saliba said, to the average 33,000 attendees who come to Age of Chivalry across the weekend. Several villages take root at the fair — an English village, a Roman Empire village, a pirate village, a kids kingdom, the royal courts, enchanted forests, the Royal Recreators village and the Mercenary Narrows village.
Performance stages will be scattered throughout the fair, including areas for jousting and Shakespeare one-act plays. Some attendees are permitted to camp at Sunset Park over the weekend, avoiding the need to find parking each day. Saliba said that limited parking will be available at the park, with overflow parking at nearby Del Sol High School or Cannon Middle School. A free shuttle service will take patrons to the park.
Dressing up like historical figures or everyday people from the Renaissance era also shapes the festival’s atmosphere, Saliba said. As a result, cosplay, or costume play, is a defining aspect of Renaissance fairs in general. One year, Saliba said he saw a man attend as a 12-foot tree.
“That’s what makes this fair unique as far as people-watching goes,” he said. “If you’re not the avid [fairgoer] and you just want to come check it out to see what it’s about, there’s great people-watching just from all the costumes that attend that aren’t necessarily part of the fair.”
When she was younger, Steinmuller said she wore more Renaissance period-specific costumes — the billowing skirts, the tight corsets, the high-neck tops. But these days, she dons pirate’s garb, an outfit that grants her more ease in operating her booth, and goes by the title Captain Peanut.
“Renaissance Fair is something you have to see for yourself,” she said. “It’s impeccable, the way these people are dressed.”
Michelle Thorstrom, owner of Damsel in this Dress, is a Utah-based vendor who sells corsets and costumes. Her tulip skirts and form-fitting corsets are highly patterned and intricate — the result of all-day endeavors designing and sewing.
She said her designs are based on personal taste and are created out of a small studio in batches, after which she sells them weekly on her website. She created Damsel in this Dress in 2004 and has attended Age of Chivalry for many years.
“The great thing about being near Vegas is that it draws from a large pool of visitors from all over,” she said via email. “Everyone comes together to appreciate different events and shopping and just have a good time with something that isn’t usually so much every day for people.”
A three-day pass is $45 for adults, and $25 for seniors and children 12 and under. Daily passes are $20-$25.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)