Oregon Ren Faire Eyes Return at County Fairgrounds

Ever wished you could go back to a time before Covid-19? Well — is the 1500s far enough?

After the coronavirus pandemic forced it to be postponed and then — eventually — canceled in 2020, the Oregon Renaissance Faire was rescheduled for this summer.

And, a festival spokesperson confirmed this week, the annual celebration of Renaissance-era food, culture, arts, entertainment and music is still on for June 5-6 and 12-13.

“As of now, we are still a go for June,” Ren Faire Marketing and Advertising Director Shana Casey told The Canby Current. “We are closely watching changes as they are happening and will definitely keep everyone informed on things as they progress.”

Put on by the Washington Renaissance Arts & Education Society, a nonprofit that also organizes several large, period-themed events in the Evergreen State, the Oregon Ren Faire is known for its unique blend of modern sensibilities and fun with historically accurate sights and sounds and educational experiences.

The Oregon Renaissance Faire at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in June 2019. File photo by Tyler Francke.

The event is modeled around a royal visit by the beloved Mary, Queen of Scots, to a fictional Scottish village dubbed the Vale of Dunrose — which, of course, includes a tournament, entertainers, arts, crafts and all manner of feasting.

And ale. Lots of ale. (I mean, come on: It’s Scotland in the 1560s.)

Of course, with the Oregon Renaissance Faire also being a large event staged during a pandemic, it is likely to include some changes — namely, the standard Covid-19 protocols to which we’ve all become accustomed.

“We are following whatever guidelines the county and state are requiring,” Casey explained. “We understand that things are subject to change at any moment. Currently, this means masks, respecting space, lots of hand sanitizing stations, cleaning and sanitizing often and so on.”

At this point, organizers are still planning to stage all of the elements the Faire’s growing fan base has come to expect, from the tournament to street performers and circus acts to the marketplace to pubs and the food court.

The Oregon Renaissance Faire at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in June 2019. File photo by Tyler Francke.

The biggest change is that Dunrose is likely to be experiencing a bit of urban sprawl — several centuries ahead of its time.

“We will make things bigger and more spread apart so people can roam safely,” Casey said.

The event may also be required to limit attendance to conform with public health guidelines, though it’s too early to predict exactly what that will look like.

“We have been watching what other outdoor events that have managed to open are doing,” Casey said. “It seems that most are operating at a lower capacity to keep people as safe as possible. We are not sure what percentage that will be yet but we’ll have more info the closer we get.”

Any tickets purchased in advance for last year’s festival will be valid for 2021. For more information about this year’s event, visit oregonfaire.com or email info@WRAES.org.

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