Wichita Renaissance Festival: Q&A with Pirate "Little Beard"
Come one, come all! The 2017 Great Plains Renaissance Festival is back. The 18th Annual Fall RenFest and Scottish Festival is turning Wichita medieval on September 23 and 24 at Sedgwick County Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.
The Fall Renaissance Festival will bring unique acts to Wichita that will include fire breathing, silly pirates, bagpipes, dancers, and beautiful birds of prey from Royal Gauntlet Birds of Prey. There will also be nearly 70 vendors at the fest selling a different assortment of wares: swords, kilts, art, costuming, and more! It wouldn’t be a Ren Fest without turkey legs, and those will be bountiful.
This Q&A with John Horn, a.k.a "Little Beard" who helps execute RenFest, gives visitors an idea of what to expect this year!
What can we expect to see?
Of course entertainment, shopping, food, and unique characters. This year we have moved the Scottish Highland Games to its new home in the fall. There is a food court with a pub; we will also have a children’s realm with kids games and bouncy houses. There’s also going to be entertainment from all over the country including jousting, belly dancers, fire breathers, sword fighting, scurvy, pirates, and all kinds of music.
What's the Scottish Festival?
The Scottish Games started out as its own event and has grown to join the Renaissance Faire. Professional athletes come in from all over the world to compete in the traditional Scottish Highland games. The games will be going continuously throughout the day, and it will include activities such as the Traditional Highland amateur Caber Tossing Competition. There’s also going to be booths set up at the competition representing many different Scottish Clans. You can come in and learn about different traditions and lineage. There are also many vendors that will be set up specifically for the games selling traditional Scottish wares.
There’s going to be jousting, right?
Always. Jousting seems to the focal point for the festival. Joust Evolution Jousting Group and Stunt Team comes in every year and does three stellar shows each day. The team will often talk with the audience after shows and even let people take pictures with the horses.
What’s your favorite food?
Everyone would expect me to say “Turkey Legs,” which are a staple of the Ren Faire scene, but personally, I look forward to two of my favorites at Great Plains: the Garlic Parmesan Meatballs from “Sir Edward’s Dragon Wings” and then I finish it off with some chocolate covered strawberries.
What's the best part about being a pirate?
Oh, there are so many great parts! Everyone seems to love pirates. Kids love asking about the ship and the swords, and adults love the PG-13 humor. A pirate is welcome everywhere at the fest. Since we are supposed to be rum swilling hooligans, no one even notices if we mess up our lines in the shows. It’s great to be able to step into the shoes of a character that so many people come out to see.
What do you enjoy most about the Renaissance Festival?
That’s a tough question since there are so many things I love about the faire. Of course seeing all of your friends and fans that you only get to see every few months, or as we call them, our “Fairmily.” I could also say that getting to escape into a fantasy world of fun and being able to escape the stress of the real world for the weekend. But, being a Pirate Performer, I feel obligated to say performing at the “Pirate Smoker” adult-themed show is the most fun part. I also love seeing both the new entertainment and vendors, and what our regular entertainers have added. Often there is so much improv going on at the event it’s like watching something new every time!
Tickets will be available at the gate, but you can always purchase ahead and save money off a regular adult gate admission by buying online. If you do purchase online, your tickets will be head at the “Will Call” entrance among the castle walls.