ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jousters, jesters and jugglers, oh my.
The Las Cruces Renaissance ArtsFaire in Young Park will feature all that and more Nov. 2-3.
The rolling, grassy hills of the nearly 14-acre park will be covered with more than 100 artisan vendors displaying their work and interacting with potential buyers, all while donned in medieval garb.
“I do art shows all over the country, and the group that puts this on is a really good group,” Silver City potter Jeff Kuhns said of the Doña Ana Arts Council. “The people support it really well.”
Now in its 48th year, the fair annually draws nearly 13,000 visitors, said Kathleen Albers, executive director of the Arts Council.
And it’s not a typical art show, she said, as each vendor is required to get into the spirit of the festival.
“It’s different,” she said of the fair. “This is one weekend, and it’s a Renaissance-themed art fair. But we really try to make it not only an art fair, with 100 different vendors with arts and crafts and products of the Southwest. We also have a lot of entertainment on four different stages.”
The entertainment includes the Order of Epona’s jousters on horseback, performing two shows daily.
“They run at each other; they have lances that break,” Albers said. “It’s lots of fun, and they play to the crowd, and get you cheer on their knights.”
Jeffrey the Juggler will perform at the main stage both days and roam throughout the park.
Saucy Queen Sherry, also known as local resident Sherry White, who has reigned supreme in the realm for many years, will hold court all day, accompanied by jesters, belly dancers and musicians. She’ll also find time to lead the royal procession through the park each day at 1 p.m.
In addition to Jeffery, the main stage is the site for a murder mystery, “Princes in the Tower,” performed by the Enchantment Historical Productions from the Crimson Bear Court, as well as other acts, such as Project in Motion; Odd Lab from El Paso, including acrobats and fire dancers in a high-energy Middle Eastern/Southwestern fusion; the Royal Court, Empire Pipes and Drums and the Society for Creative Anachronism; and the Academy of Music and Dance.
Local musician Randy Granger, who has performed at the fair for 10 years and is the main stage emcee, said it’s a great spot for the family to enjoy the day.
The Crimson Bear Court is a nonprofit presenting reenactments. Visitors can borrow props such as helmets for photos with costumed royalty, and kids can make paper shields or use a pingpong ball cannon to knock down a block city.
“What I like about the main stage is that you can grab your lunch, sit on a hay bale and take in the entire atmosphere of RenFaire,” he said. “You can take in how fun and diverse it all is.”
There’s even a children’s realm with foam sword fighting. Kids can get up close with raptors from HawkQuest.
A big hit every year, Magellan the Dragon roars, blows smoke and lords over the lake.
Artisans will present their work in ceramics, jewelry, wood, textile and mixed-media and recycled art, as well as local products, such as honey and salsa.
“Art is at the heart of it,” she said. “We want local artists, but we also bring in regional artisans from California, Texas, Colorado, all over. They make this part of their tour or circuit. The difference, with us, they have to decorate their booth and be in costume and be a part of the shtick.”