The Kenai River Council on the Arts is holding a festival of Medieval proportions at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sackett's Roadhouse Grill in Sterling. It will be full of hearty food, authentic costumes, Shakespearean actors, performances by area bards and maybe even a sword fight or two -- if someone partakes too heavily of the mulled wine.
May Faire will be a Renaissance-themed fund-raiser event for the council.
"The Renaissance theme is so perfect for an arts group because we want to speak for everybody, not just visual artists, but performers, musicians, writers and arts appreciators in general," said Marty Hapeman, council board member. "We have all sorts of things lined up to happen."
May Faire is a first-time offering for the council, although it could become a ongoing tradition.
"It's our first time," said Allen Auxier, council board president. "But if we're successful and people like it, we will certainly try to turn it into a yearly event."
The festival will include a feast of authentic Renaissance fare -- although prepared to modern-day standards, of course. Roast pig, turkey drumsticks, vegetable soup, mincemeat pie, Cornish game hens, fruits and vegetables and homemade bread will make up the buffet-style menu, with plenty of options for a full vegetarian meal. Mulled wine and other spirits also will be served.
The entertainment for the evening promises to be lively, with jugglers, maypole dancers (weather permitting), improvisational and Shakespearean actors and musicians playing period instruments and pieces.
Louise Heite will be one of several wandering bards for the evening, playing the hammered dulcimer. The Mud Bay Madrigal Society will be up from Homer to play and the central peninsula's own Mike Morgan also will perform.
A market place will be set up for area artisans to peddle their wares, including quits, leather and pottery. Attendees of the festival will receive their own May Faire hand-thrown pottery goblet made by the Kenai Peninsula Pottery Guild and Kenai River Council on the Arts board members.
Fairgoers are encouraged to wear at least one article of Renaissance-themed clothing, if not a full-out costume, however, it is not required. There will be costumes available at the door, though, for anyone without appropriate attire. A donation -- in the form of money or a contribution to the night's entertainment -- most likely will be required.
A limited number of tickets are still available, although anyone interested in going is encouraged to purchase a ticket in advance because they may not be sold at the door. Tickets are $75, $40 being a tax-deductible donation to the council.
"I think the thing to bear in mind is that it's a fund-raiser for the arts in the area," Hapeman said. "We realize that there's money out there in the form of grants, but nobody will even look at you unless you're earning your own money, so if we can prove that we're viable, we can go for grants and start doing things for artists in the area."
Tickets are available at Sackett's, in Kenai at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center and in Soldotna at Art Works and River City Books. For more information, call Hapeman at 262-1777 or Auxier at 283-8433.
"I think we're all going to have a ball," Hapeman said. "When things started out slow with ticket sales there was that nervous feeling, but we all said, 'You know, it doesn't matter if anyone else shows up. We might have to eat till the morning hours, but we'll have a great time.'
"We're just planning on having a lot of fun."
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