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It all started one day back in '96 when I had nothing else to do and it was suggested to me that the day could be spent at the Renaissance Faire of the Midlands. "What *is* that?", I remember thinking...and I still do ;)
We went in "danes", or regular street clothing, and walked around. I was amazed! And we even got to talk to the proverbial knight in shining armour (who was carrying business cards!), and thus the addiction began.
I was a very-active member of the Knights of Saint George for three years, going to a few midwestern faires with them as "Maeve", being the "camp follower" of the English encampment (the beginnings of wenchdom!). I immursed myself in historical research and costuming, posted on AFR, and learned everything I could about everything I could get my hands on. I attended SCA events for a short while, did the costuming for renaissance weddings, and everything else I could do. My Christmas present in '98 was my beloved wench pin (#596) and material!
Then my life took another turn and when my relationship with my now-ex-husband ended, going to faires seemed rather moot. In '99, just when I was about to hang up my bodice forever, I got an e-mail from this guy, Al, who was trying to get people to attend the Des Moines Ren Faire. We got to talking and realized that we'd attended the same faires for years but had never met!
He talked me into using his spare ticket to KCRF and as they say, that was that...
We clicked so well that he asked if I would help him sell roses at faire, and Wilhelmina Wendeline Wylie was born (hey! I had to do something to compete with John-Paul George <AKA Ringo>!), and it all progressed from there. With my creative bursts and his analytical mindset combined, AtTheFaire.com will be around for many years to come.
In 1997 I knew someone who was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms. She had been to many S.C.A. events, but had never actually gone to a renaissance festival. A coworker of mine, James, performed at the local Iowa Renaissance Festival and told me about that local event. Off we went, her for the first time and me for the third time (if you count the two Texas festivals I attended when I was in gradeschool). She dressed up in funny clothing, and I played tourist and took a few dozen pictures with my then state-of-the-art Epson PhotoPC digital camera.
Over the next few years I found myself slowly acquiring articles of renaissance clothing ("it all started with a floppy hat") and soon I was well on my way to being a bonafide "rennie." By 1998 I was working a festival and selling roses to all those "strange dressed tourists" who came to our village. My photo collection continued to grow, and I displayed it along with my Disney and theme park collection on my personal web site.
In 1999 I met Lindsy, a wonderful woman who was just getting through a relationship that had also involved quite a bit of renaissance activities. It was difficult for her to get back into things, and this common ground connected us instantaneously. In 2000 we went to more festivals than either of us had ever attended in one year. I also became an official Rogue (number 641, thank you). And so it began...
My strengthened interest in festivals, along with having someone in my life as enthusiastic about them as I, brought forth the desire to create a dedicated site to host the growing library of photos. On April 11th, 2000, atthefaire.com became an official destination on the world wide web. Today you see the third incarnation of the site, version 2.0, and I hope you've enjoyed watching it grow as much as we've enjoyed building it.
Thanks so much for taking time to read this, and please send all your rennie friends. There are many more festivals ahead of us...
And thus is began...
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Permanent festivals in our area: Kansas
City Renaissance Festival, Bristol
Renaissance Faire, Des Moines Renaissance Faire and Minnesota