The Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville opens August 22. Yesterday's Weekend section omitted the date. (Published 7/18/87)
"THE QUEEN is coming! The Queen is coming!" The shouts bring her subjects to their knees -- and the visiting citizenry to their cameras -- as Queen Elizabeth and her court move elegantly through the village.
"Wait! I want to take a picture!" pleads one visitor.
"How say you Sir? Wait?" replies a member of Her Majesty's court. "The Queen waits not for commoners. Stand aside!"
With that, the Queen and her escorts continue their stately tour of the realm, all 25 acres of it. The "realm," in these days of democracy four centuries after Elizabeth's actual rule, is the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, set on an estate near the cities of York and Lancaster, two names with heritages at least a century older than even Elizabeth. The Queen is a professional actress, one of more than 40 in the fair, which includes games, drama, comedy, a joust or two, crafts and food.
Located at the Victorian Mount Hope Estate and Winery in Mannheim, Pa., the fair stresses audience involvement. Whether as a foil in one of the fair's scheduled shows, as a pawn in the live chess match, or as a bystander who is brought into the improvised street theater scene, spectators become part of the set.
The actors and actresses play their parts well. An eavesdropper found that they spoke Elizabethan English even when they talked among themselves.
The fair has a theme: the competition between the Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh for the Queen's affections. But the action is a constant movement between the stages, the games (life-sized chess, axe-throwing, archery, nine pins and more), the entertainment (comedy, often bawdy, and drama, maypole dances, mud pit shows, gypsy dances and fortune telling), the shops (high-quality crafts and food) and the climax: a joust, followed by a farewell singalong.
Altogether, the fair is a great day of entertainment that allows spectators to choose their fun -- and to join in when they want. The continuous stage performances -- juggling, comedy, music, dances and miniplays -- don't last longer than half an hour, and should they lose your attention, other attractions and games are a short walk off. HARK, HARK
The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is held at the Mount Hope Estate and Winery. The estate's 32-room Victorian mansion and the adjacent boxwood gardens are open for tours. Visitors can also tour the winery and sample the estate's vintages.
The Pennsylvania Faire is one of three Renaissance Faires in the region:
PENNSYLVANIA RENAISSANCE FAIRE
is 11 to 6 Saturdays and Sundays through October 11 (plus Labor Day). Admission is $8.75 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 11. The fair is held on the Mount Hope Estate and Winery on Route 72, 15 miles north of Lancaster. 717/665-7021.
MARYLAND RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
is 10:30 to 6 Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day through September 27. This festival, in its 11th year, features jousting, street actors, music, juggling, foods and crafts. Admission is $9.50, $8 for seniors (over 65) and juniors (12 to 15), $3.50 for those 5 to 11. The festival is held in Crownsville. From the Beltway, take U.S. 50 east, then Route 3 north to Route 450 east to Crownsville Road, turn left and go one mile. 301/266-7304.
THE GREAT MEDIEVAL LAMMASTIDE FAIR
at Linganore Winecellars at Berrywine Plantations near New Market, Md., is 11 to 6 August 1 and noon to 6 August 2. ("Lammas" is a celebration of the first harvest.) The Fair will include historically accurate encampments, thatched dwellings, a replica of a ninth-century Viking ship afloat on a lake and jousters, entertainers, beggars, lords and ladies, craftsmen and food shops. Tours of winery and tastings cost $2. Admission to the fair is free, but parking's $2 per car. From Washington, take I-270 north to I-70 east. At Exit 60, take Route 75 north for 4 1/2 miles. Turn right on Glisans Mill Road and drive 3.7 miles to the winery. 301/662-8687.