Time rolled back about four centuries compliments of L&M Enterprises, as it hosted the fourth annual Genoa Renaissance Festival on Saturday and Sunday. Set against a hill at the base of Job's Peak, the weekend celebration featured jousting, juggling, magic, music, story tellers, rapier demonstrations and a lighter look at Shakespeare.
"This area has lots of rodeos and regular fairs to entertain the public," organizer Lorie Hickey said. "This is something the whole community can enjoy."
Primarily a family-oriented event, it played host to a comfortably sized and diverse crowd. Little girls in shorts and tank tops, teens, moms and dads mingled easily with the American Jousting Alliance and the fully arrayed Babylon Babes from the Brewery Arts Center. Zinger and the Tart, imported from Seattle, brought their magical prowess. Zinger spoke animatedly of his travels, though his Tart was nowhere to be seen.
"They'll be hanging me twice a day in Salem (Oregon) next weekend," Zinger said. "I hope they're good at it."
The engaging performance of Thomas Wood held the crowd. This juggler, fire-eater, actor, adventurer brought down the house with his talent, wit and an excellent juggling act. From Long Beach, Wood is self-taught and has been practicing his craft for eight years.
Traveling vendors brought every Renaissance delight, from tarot readings and exotic paraphernalia to dragons and fairy wings. Face painting and medieval headpieces were also available.
But not without a touch of the contemporary.
"We take ye merry olde plasticke," one vendor announced with a sign that hung from the eave.
"I like these small fairs," Dina Duhl, a vendor from Concord, Calif., said, noting she prefers the laid-back camaraderie. "They're more family oriented and not so political."
"It (being a traveling vendor) is a lifestyle, a huge traveling subculture," vendor Ellen Bogue said.
Originally from Boston, Bogue feels the fairs serve to perpetuate the ancient crafts that have almost died out, as well as give those of European extraction a feeling for their roots. This is a good way to pass down the stories and lifestyles of other peoples and cultures, as well as bring people in touch with their own cultural backgrounds, she said.
"It's (also) good for stress reduction," Bogue said. "There are a lot of professional people here: lawyers, doctors, architects, and bankers."