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Spotlight on RENAISSANCE FAIRE   

Advisors: Jesse Olson and Dana Zuhlke

Membership: Typically 40+ students, with 10-15 serving as officers on the steering committee

What they do:  The club takes a field trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire at Mount Hope in Manheim, PA each fall. Meetings are held throughout the year for members to plan the Faire, which occurs in late May on the soccer field behind Welch Pool.  A steering committee of students writes the day-long plot and coordinates activities held throughout the day such as Merlin’s Market Crafts, tavern and pub refreshments, dancing, singing, archery demonstrations, a human chess match, and many more.

Benefits of participation: Members develop creativity, bolster historical knowledge, overcome age-group barriers, build lifelong friendships and social support networks, and find a place to feel at home. They grow their public speaking and improvisation abilities along with their self-confidence. They learn how to sew their own clothing and fine-tune other specialized skills. Many members end up holding office within the club and leading sub-guilds, taking on responsibility for alchemy, publicity, stage fighting, garb work, choral music, dance, tavern (providing refreshments), business management, and general leadership.

Impact on school and community:  Through the activities and sales at the Faire, the club is able to make donations to the State College Food Bank, the Youth Service Bureau, and other organizations that serve young people and those in need. Members of the community who attend the Faire are exposed to the customs of Renaissance England and its surroundings, providing them a glimpse at a drastically different culture. Members take their knowledge on the road, leading other schools in interactive songs and dances, and provide entertainment at the annual Homecoming Parade.

One student says... “As a new student coming in as a junior, this club made me feel like I was adopted into a really big family because everyone is welcoming of everyone else. It’s my safe-haven, especially when I’m having a rough week.”

A note from the advisors: The community is encouraged to attend our Renaissance Faire this year on Sunday, May 22, on the field behind Welch Pool from 11:00-5:00.