If you call Beth Kitchen a “Rennie,” she won’t take offense. This 42-year-old East Memphis mom is a self-professed Rennie, a fan of the Renaissance era. Her passion has led her to attend a number of Renaissance fairs around the country since discovering them during her days as a corporate trainer and software tester.
She’s even been to the nation’s oldest, the Texas Renaissance Festival (50 miles northwest of Houston, October 10-November 29). Now, she’s taking time from her henna business, New World Henna, to work behind the scenes and organize the inaugural Mid-South Renaissance Faire.
Mid-South Renaissance Faire
Saturday & Sunday, August 22-23 & August 29-30
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Shelby Farms Conservancy
If you’ve never been to a Renaissance fair, you’re in for a treat. This pop-up event is a step back in time, featuring period costumes, Elizabethan food (think turkey legs and mead, a form of wine), beer, jousting, juggling, storytelling, Renaissance music, and more.
“We take great pains to make sure everything is historically accurate, with costumes and props reflecting the era,” says Kitchen.
Of course, deciding whether to include family favorites like bouncy houses can sometimes ruffle a few feathers, “because it’s not historically accurate, but it is a castle,” she notes. (Good news: The bouncy house is in.)
She readily admits fairs like these also prompt people to be creative and join in on the fun. “You’ll see elves, pirates, characters from the Lord of the Rings,” she says. “People like having an excuse to dress up.”
Kids can also participate by taking part in a scavenger hunt. Those who collect all the stamps will be knighted during the two knighting ceremonies held daily.
Kitchen launched a Facebook page several months ago and quickly amassed 3,400 likes. She has 30 sponsors and a host of food and product vendors. Some fans are even volunteering to help Kitchen make the inaugural event a success. (If you want to help out, go here.) She’s hoping as word spreads, the public will be lined up on opening day.
GATE ADMISSION: $13/adults, $8/ages 6-12, under 5 free.
ONLINE TICKETS: $11.50/adults, $6.50/ages 6-12.
4-DAY PASSES: $35/adult, $20/child.