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San Bernardino shooting victim was a devoted Renaissance Faire volunteer

San Bernardino shooting victim was a devoted Renaissance Faire volunteer
Ryan Reyes holds an image of his boyfriend Daniel Kaufman who was confirmed as one of the 14 victims of Wednesday's mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

The Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale draws a loyal group of volunteer performers who don velvet brocade and leather boots on scorching spring days.

Among the most devoted was Daniel Kaufman, 42, killed Wednesday in the mass shooting in San Bernardino.

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For more than two decades, he was a familiar sight at Faire, singing and hoisting a banner during ceremonial parades.

FULL COVERAGE: San Bernardino shooting | Shooting updates

On other days, Kaufman could be seen dressed as an Italian noble with a stiff lace collar and a pewter goblet, or as a peasant riding a horse, dancing through the crowds.

"He was always ridiculously cheerful," said Robert Andruszko, 40, of Orange. At the end of a three-day weekend, when participants were sweating into their hose in 100-degree heat, Kaufman could still make everyone smile, he said.

In one photo shared on Facebook, he beamed into the camera, a bright floral crown perched on his head.

"How can so much life be gone?" one Faire participant wrote Thursday on Facebook.

The most devoted Faire participants are like family, Andruszko said, who cherish their two months together each year and take trips to Disneyland in other seasons.

"Faire teaches us that everyone's ideas are valid," Andruszko said. "It gives us a greater understanding of each other and the world in general."

When a beloved member of the community dies, Andruszko said, others say, "they went Skyfaire."

He added: "It's a heavenly place. Faire is perfect, and you get to perform."

For more news, follow @laura_nelson on Twitter.

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