Renaissance Festival opens in Bonner Springs
- Sep. 12, 2012
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As the Kansas City Renaissance Festival continues its annual season in Bonner Springs , attendees are transported back in time with an array of activities and performances.
The festival, now in its 36th year, has added new attractions while keeping old favorites.
“We are sort of challenged with the idea of coming up with something that is new but that is also 500 years old,” said Will Peterson, marketing coordinator for the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. “This year we are anticipating a big turnout for our mermaid.”
The mermaid, captured by pirates in the Atlantic, is housed in a tank of water filled with shells that she hands to onlookers. The festival has also added a secret garden, fairy forest, barbarian battles and a royal pub crawl.
With all the festivities looking to be perfected, the jobs of the crew are not a single-season ordeal.
“We have a full-time staff year-round, from marketing to getting the site ready,” Peterson said. “It is quite a bit of preparation. We’ve got to figure out scheduling and figure out all the new things we are going to do every year.”
The performers also have duties outside of the festival season whether it be casting, auditioning or attending acting classes through the Canterbury Conservatory.
Peterson said the Conservatory is an academy teaching everything from a British accent, to interacting with patrons, to staying in and developing characters. Two Kansas students, Elizabeth Ernst and Erika O’Shea, have made their way through the academy and are now festival royalty.
Ernst, princess Etiz of England, has been visiting the festival for seven years and has taken a liking to her newfound royal blood.
“It’s a very good opportunity to step out of other responsibilities for awhile and make people happy,” she said. “It is rather remarkable to see a little girl’s face when she meets a princess.”
According to O’Shea, princess Thea of Denmark, she has been royalty all her life but a temporary resident of Canterbury for three seasons.
“I do believe my favorite part about being a princess is seeing the look in the little children’s eyes as we crown them,” O’Shea said. “They get to join us in all of our games, and playing with them is the most marvelous thing.”
The princesses take part in four performances throughout the day as well as instruct others on proper manners and discourse.
The festival is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 14. Tickets are $19.95 at the gate. The weekend of Sept. 29 has been dubbed Lawrence weekend. Attendees get a discount with a valid form of Lawrence residency or with KU Student ID. The themes vary from weekend to weekend and can be found on the website.
For more information or to buy tickets, check out www.kcrenfest.com.