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Jolly Ho, It’s the Renaissance Festival

Joust for the fun of it, ye might want to stroll on down to Rainbow Lagoon next weekend for a peasant afternoon and a memorable knight. Yes, it’s the 16th Century again in Long Beach.

The seventh annual Renaissance Arts Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and on Aug. 25. Tickets at the gate are $7 for adults ($5 for senior citizens) and $2 for children ages 5 to 12. Rainbow Lagoon is situated along Shoreline Drive between the Hyatt Regency and the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

Visitors will experience a taste of life in an Elizabethan village. Wandering the premises will be jugglers, minstrels, dancers and other performers--not to mention a variety of Shakespearean entertainers performing on two stages. In fact, the Bard himself will be in attendance, said Beth Hansen, director of the festival.

In addition, gallant knights will demonstrate their skill in hand-to-hand combat. Talented artisans will display their handiworks for sale. And a band of bawdy pirates is planning to wage a booming sea battle across the lagoon.

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Hansen said many of the participants are historical re-creation fanatics who travel great distances to participate in these types of Renaissance activities. Several volunteers will be dressed as peasants; others will portray Elizabethan lords and ladies.

And when it comes to a Middle Age spread, the festival has one to envy--including traditional roast turkey legs, giant beef ribs and foaming ale.

The festival raises money for the homeless through the Travelers Aid Society, a nonprofit agency affiliated with United Way. The organization provides transportation, shelter, financial assistance and other types of aid to the homeless, as well as to mentally and physically disabled people, stranded travelers, crime victims and unemployed newcomers to the Long Beach area.

Hansen encourages the public to get in the spirit of the festival by dressing for the occasion. If you don’t happen to own your own sword and suit of armor, she suggested a visit to a costume shop beforehand or simply stopping by one of the costume suppliers at the event. There’s an added incentive for dressing in period attire--costume contests will be held on both days, including separate categories for children.

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All in all, the Renaissance Festival promises a fun--and unusual--trip to the beach. Serfs up!


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