As many of you might already know I own and direct our town's annual Renaissance Faire. It's a strange job for me to have seeing as how I'm not really a "Rennie" or Renaissance enthusiast as all. I've only been to one other Renaissance faire and my knowledge of the Renaissance era is very basic, so how on earth did I end up with this job?
Three years ago at band practice (I played the accordion percussion for an Irish band) the idea of throwing a huge private Renaissance themed party came up and I loved the idea. Later, the party idea turned into "Let's do a small public renaissance faire". As I am a doer, not a dreamer, I took this idea and ran with it. Texarkana NEEDS HELP! There's nothing but rodeos and gun and knife shows here!
After a couple of months my bandmates began to lose interest in the faire but I was on fire. Like most people in this town, they would rather complain about not having something to do instead of trying to help make it happen. So I stopped discussing the faire with them and began to plan it on my own.
Well really, how could I let myself miss the opportunity to dress up like a queen and throw a giant party?
|Band practice. I was learning how to play the accordion. I sucked and gave up.|
During planning the faire, I discovered that I was going to need help so I sent out notices on Facebook inviting local Rennie's to a meeting at a coffeeshop to hear my proposal for something grand for Texarkana. About 50 people showed up and joined the Texarkana Renaissance Faire Club. The faire was now OUR faire, not MY faire. A community event, for the people by the people and that's exactly how I wanted it. It was awesome to see people get so excited and willing to help me with this project! Now with the help and support of 50 people the faire was 100% a go. The club had monthly meetings about developing the faire until I noticed that less and less people were showing up. At our last meeting only 5 people showed up. Frustrated with everyone's fading zeal and terrible excuses, I disbanded the group and began to work on the faire completely by myself.
I felt kind of silly working on the faire alone since I'm not into the whole Renaissance thing but I knew it was something the townspeople wanted and I knew I had the ability to give it to them.
For months (while working a full time job) I developed applications, contracts, rules, guidelines, marketing strategies and fundraisers. I contacted well over 300 merchants, 50 potential sponsors and over 100 entertainers.... all by myself.
Later a small group of ex-club members came to me told me that they would support me and help me with anything I need for the faire. I was reluctant at first to accept their help as I had been burned before but then they showed me that they really meant business. We are now known as the Right Handed Pygmies: a small group of loyal people dedicated to bringing Texarkana it's first
(now second) Renaissance Faire.
(now second) Renaissance Faire.
|Promoting the faire at the Arklatex Comic Con|
We became an LLC in September 2012 and word of the upcoming faire began to spread like wild fire. The applications for merchants and entertainment began to pour in.
I handle all the paperwork by myself, since there's not really enough to overwhelm me just yet. I scout and hire the entertainment, make the budget, handle the finances, plan the decor and vendor placement, run the website, Twitter, Facebook and (yes) our Pinterest page. I handle the press, create the fundraiser, design the flyers and ads, etc, etc. I'm the boss. I'm MY boss. I make the rules, I set the tone and I'm a stubborn ass at times but my Pygmies help keep me in line.
Stay tuned for more about The Renaissance Woman. In my next blog post I'll be discussing what it's like to RUN a Ren Faire. FUN!