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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Nowak: Come on down and enjoy the Old West

  • I recently had the pleasure of attending the Renaissance Festival Mini Faire in Bonner Springs at the Wyandotte County Park.
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  • I recently had the pleasure of attending the Renaissance Festival Mini Faire in Bonner Springs at the Wyandotte County Park. Most everyone knows about Ren Fest that occurs every Autumn and that it runs for seven weekends, but not so many are invited to the Mini Faire. Mini Faire is the final exam for all the Renies and Reny Wanabies.
    We patrons, of which there were over 200, set up chairs or grabbed a bench and let the Renies come to us to perform their shtick.
    As the person in charge told us, 45 seconds is about all the time that they will have with most patrons if they expect to actually get around and mix with the patrons that pay to get into Ren Fest.
    Actually, having a routine that you can do for about a minute and that you can repeat throughout the day is not a bad deal if you don't mind the repetition.
    Some were so experienced or already so outgoing that they had no trouble adlibbing once they got through their basic routine.
    A few were obviously new to the concept and did not do so well and thanks to their evaluation sheets, the less entertaining actors will probably not be playing a gig at Ren Fest this year.
    The process pretty much guarantees visitors that they are getting a really good deal with respect to the Renies.
    A jury of peers and patrons sorts them out before the Fest.
    Just in case you already did not know, the Renies are the characters that roam throughout the grounds all day and interact with the patrons.
    There are several groups of them and the Gypsy Clan or Romanies seem to be the favorite, although I did find many other characters very entertaining, too.
    I find it amazing that a lot of people pay good money every year to attend Ren Fest.
    It is a fantasy world based on the King Arthur period and it is worth it just to see all of the costumes and to listen to the Renies speak in the tongue of the day.
    It definitely reminds me of Tombstone where there are the equivalent of these Renies, but they dress up in Wild West outfits and the fantasy world never ends, it just gets better every weekend.
    Tombstone is so popular that visitors rent cowboy and cowgirl outfits to get in the groove walking around town.
    It is not unusual to hear people speaking Japanese or German on the streets of Tombstone and they are dressed up in period clothing.
    Cheyenne does a similar thing, but it is most popular for dress-up during the Wild West Days which is just one long weekend in the fall.
    Page 2 of 2 - To me, this brings up Leavenworth which has some of the old buildings that were built either before or during America's Wild West period.
    Buffalo Bill Days is one of those kinds of days where you can dress up as part of the fantasy and the fun and celebrate the real history of Leavenworth.
    It's just one Saturday (unless you include Friday evening) and it promises to be a lot of fun.
    You don't have to travel to Tombstone, Cheyenne or Dodge City to be a part of American Western heritage.
    You can just visit downtown Leavenworth on the second Saturday in September and be entertained. Better yet, be part of the atmosphere and dress up in Old West clothes.
    These things kind of grow on themselves and maybe someday Leavenworth will be a destination place for visitors.
    It's only one day and you don't have to have a routine.
    Just come on down and enjoy the Old West in downtown Leavenworth.
    Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.

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