Venture into the 16th century

The 36th Michigan Renaissance Festival comes to Holly

By Lauren Lukens
Editor-in-Chief

While roaming the streets of the 16th-century village at the Michigan Renaissance Festival Kick-Off Party at Eastern Market on Sunday, August 3, attendees got a sample of the upcoming festival while enjoying 40 unique vendors, live entertainers and village residents.

The 36th Annual Michigan Renaissance Festival will take place in Holly on themed weekends starting August 16 going through the end of September.

“[My favorite part of the festival is] definitely getting dressed up and being part of the setting, the ambiance and the feeling of it all,” said Jacob Eliett, Dearborn Heights resident, 2nd year Schoolcraft student and worker at Mystiques-West Psychic Reading Center in Westland. “The energy is really neat here and it’s a special thing that everyone gets to share in.”

Inside the turreted gates of the Renaissance Festival, visitors will enjoy the sights and sounds of a 17-acre village called Hollygrove, complete with building reproductions of Renaissance shops, taverns and a magnificent castle.

Continuous entertainment takes place on the roads and on 17 themed stages; featuring full-contact armored jousting, comedy acts, theater shows, music, games, people-powered rides and more.

People also offer their talents in tents throughout Hollygrove, such as spiritual counseling, fortune-telling, henna and hand-drawn portraits.

“As a clairvoyant, people who have had someone pass away are very distraught because they think they will never hear from them, and by being able to bring them information from that person who just passed away, they are reassured that life continues after death and they will have an opportunity to hear form these people and see them again,” said Ray Fraser, ordained minister, spiritual counselor and owner of Mystiques-West. “When it comes to the fortune telling or future telling aspect of it, I am able to help people because we can identify situations that they are in, how they got there, how long it is going to last and what might be the best way for them to get out of it.”

Fabulous food and more than 300 artisans displaying their gallery-quality works complete the experience.

Judy Foley, owner of Things From Rings, a company based out of Sterling Heights that makes and sells products made of chainmail rings, said, “Everyone comes to the fair and it’s like stepping into a fantasy world, so once they get into the fair, they become part of the same fantasy we are creating. And it is so much fun to watch their eyes, especially the kids of the first timers because they are just amazed by what they see.”

More than 250,000 visitors from Michigan, surrounding states and Canada are expected to enjoy the acting, apparel and atmosphere that the workers of the festival offer, including visiting an official undertaker, throwing peers in jail and avoiding village idiots.

“All of these wonderful people come out, they see me, I declare them dead and then we go for drinks,” said Undertaker of Hollygrove Phillip Graves, played by Gartun Burton of Farmington. “Anyone who wants to be declared dead, I will be happy to do that. I also sell headstones and I also give demonstrations of one of my favorite services, cremation.”

This year, the public can participate in fairy house making and mural competitions. Registration forms are available online.

People from across the country work at the Renaissance Festival, and positions including chefs, pastry chefs, line cooks, wait staff, costumed positions, marketing and sales assistants and site and grounds crew are still available for hire.

If interested, more information is available at http://www.michrenfest.com/index.html.

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