NH Renaissance Faire offered all a merry old timeBy RYAN O'CONNOR
Union Leader Correspondent May 11. 2014 8:15PM
KINGSTON — Tom Finnegan was the first friendly face to greet the hundreds of locals attending the New Hampshire Renaissance Faire in Kingston Saturday. Dressed appropriately for the occasion, he stood at the front gate and adopted his stage persona of Jack Armstrong.
“I come from south of the Boston town, but I do love these fairs and enjoy them well, and the people I’ve met here are all good and fine people,” said Armstrong.
Finnegan is one of dozens of Renaissance performers and stage actors from all over New England who made the trek to the fairgrounds at 9 Thorne Road over the weekend for the 10th annual affair, which also runs next Saturday and Sunday.
Like Finnegan, Guy Todd enjoys performing in Renaissance festivals. On Saturday, he traveled more than an hour, from Westminister, Mass., not to perform, but to visit friends and appreciate the sights and sounds.
“I always enjoy going back in time, and seeing the armored combat is always fun,” he said, “and, of course, you get to see crafters at work too and buy their wares.”
The Faire, said manager Marc Bernier, has more than quadrupled in terms of vendors, volunteers and patrons, in the last 10 years.
“We have 15 acts,” he said. “We have magic acts, we have musical acts, we have physical comedy, combat comedy acts, we have reenactments, we have pirates, we have knights, we have jousters and their horses, and then we have 50 vendors, almost all of them who make their own wares.”
In recent years, jousting was added to the festival and has quickly become a fan favorite. The spectacle, like the full-plated knight combat, is not choreographed, Bernier said.
The New Hampshire Renaissance Faire is a registered 501c3 nonprofit; proceeds this year go to the New Hampshire Food Bank and Rockingham Meals on Wheels.
“Last year, we averaged more than 1,000 people a day, and over the past 10 years, we’ve raised more than $30,000 for various charities,” Bernier said.
Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children 5 and over, and free for younger children. Active military personnel and veterans receive $2 off with proper identification.
For more information on the Faire, visit www.nhrenfaire.com