Hammond – Traveling back in time has been an elusive and unrealized dream for many scientists and other history enthusiast throughout the world; however, the Renaissance Festival has made traveling back in time convenient, fun, and exciting. Hammond, La is proud to be one of 140 places hosting the Renaissance Festival, thanks to Rick Hight and Alvon Brumfield. Who thought to bring Renaissance Festival to the Hammond area after attending one in Arizona while stationed there with the Air Force. “We were inspired to bring one [Renaissance Festival] to Hammond because there was none like it in the state of Louisiana,” commented Rick Hight. Renaissance Festival made its debut in Hammond in November 2000 and has been gaining in popularity sense its inception.
“Renaissance Fest is for education and entertainment,” Hight further explained, “We want people to be able to come out and have fun and see how things were done in the past as well as have an enjoyable time.”
The Renaissance took place between in Italy between fourteenth and sixteenth centuries according to history-world.org. The word Renaissance means “rebirth” or “revival of learning.” The Renaissance Festival provides many opportunities today for people to learn about the past and how people lived, learned, and thrived without the modern convenience of technology.
The grounds of the festival are set up to resemble the way life would have been during that time period. The cast and characters all dress in period clothing and carry on conversations with one another as if they were reliving history. Once a visitor enters the town of Albright, one is transported back to Medieval times, where people traveled by horse-drawn carriages and literally everything was made by hand.
“The Renaissance Festival offers something for everyone in the family,” said Hight. There are plenty of games and rides for the children as well as a “free play” area. Live demonstrations of how things were made during the Renaissance take place throughout the day, plus there are live puppet shows, minstrels, glass blowing demonstrations, jousting, belly dancing and a host of other activities to engage in.
The appeal of Renaissance Festival is its authentication of the past. “I’m a history major at Southeastern and one of the first things that appealed to me when I was really young and started coming here was just the idea that history really came alive. And I’ve learned alot out here from the cast and working here I’ve learned even more,” said Lindsey Hines whose worked at Renaissance Festival for the past five years. From the vendors’ booths to the children’s rides, the entire area is set up to transport visitors back in time.
There is a Renaissance Living History Center where local towns folk will teach, explain, or demonstrate how things like candles, butter, and cloth were made. Renaissance Festival offers historical demonstrations of everything from glass blowing to candle making to sewing on a loom. Every aspect of the festival can be viewed as a learning experience with lots of fun thrown in for added measure. The town of Albright has its own King, Queen and the court, villagers, merchants and performers also reside there. The food offered at the festival is also very authentic in the way that it is made and presented to visitors.
Just as merchants abound today displaying their wares and merchandise, one can find many unique items and treasures at the vendors’ booths located throughout the festival. Beautiful and varied clothing items can be bought or rented for the day. Other vendors display fox tails, jewelry, treasure boxes, and a whole host of other interesting items.
There are also merchants who specialize in the unique and different, like Janet Tomlin, the owner of Rice Originals, who specializes in rice engraving, “I live in Indianapolis and I’ve done Renaissance Festival for eighteen years. The artform [of rice engraving] dates back to ancient China and having a rice is suppose to be a sign of prosperity and fortune,” commented Tomlin.
Marie Lovejoy, owner of Bella Braids, specializes in elaborate hair braiding, “I traveled around braiding hair at Renaissance Festivals and I’ve been doing it for ten years,” says Lovejoy.
Renaissance Festival offers plenty of entertainment and educational opportunities for the entire family. The authenticity and welcoming nature of the villagers of Albright are all the invitation one needs to enter into the past. “We are the cleanest festival anybody can visit. We want it to be a nice clean environment for families to come out and enjoy,” said Hight.
The Renaissance Festival will be open each weekend until December 9. For more information on the festival visit http://www.larf.org/