Although it looks a little different this year due to COVID-19, the Renaissance Festival is still open for families to safely enjoy the arts.
Changes are being implemented to ensure that the fair can stay up and running in correspondence with COVID-19 guidelines.
Ticket purchases are now only available online as to limit contact between guests and the staff. You can either order your tickets online ahead of time, or scan the QR code as you walk into the fair.
Temperature checks are done on each guest before entering the fair. Ren Fest offers rapid COVID-19 testing on site as an option if the temperature is above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alvon Brunfield, CEO of the Renaissance Festival since the opening, explains the new precautions set in place to align with CDC guidelines.
“We have a temperature check when people come in and we check their temperature," he said. "And, even though they can’t come in if they test positive twice, we do allow people to have a COVID test if they want to buy a COVID test, they can. If they’re riding back with a bunch of people, they might want to know. We provide that service."
"We have a lot of eating areas and other areas where we’ve sectioned off things. We have hand sanitizer within 75 feet of every customer. We have crowd control managers. The state requires it, so we do it out there that help remind people to wear their facial covering properly and to keep six food distancing per the state guidelines.”
In addition, guests are required to wear masks while inside booths. Performers that interact with the crowd must also wear masks, but are not required to while onstage.
Brunfield says how the "state exempts people who are giving speeches from having to wear it. They’re onstage, they’re a good 20 feet from everybody, so they don’t have to wear a mask."
"But the characters that walk around or that you can get closer to, or if they come offstage, they do put a facial covering on when they’re walking around the audience,” he continues.
With these rules comes a new set of challenges for performers. Even so, they are thankful to be able to continue their passion in the midst of the pandemic.
Ray Thornton, drummer for the Pandorium Belly Dancing Company, explains how COVID-19 “makes it more difficult for us to entertain, because we have to be louder in a open airspace."
"We have to project further, and we have to make allowances for that," he said. "But, everyone here at the fair is making those allowances, both performers and patrons. And it’s a wonderful thing to see, especially as a performer.”
The fair will be running every weekend until December 13th from 9:45AM to 5:00PM.