Wichita renaissance festival gives people a fair look at history

The winds that rolled through Sunday afternoon at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival did little to dampen enthusiasm while the games continued.

There was plenty of jests and jousts, scallywags, belly dancers, merchants and mercenaries.

Despite some wind gusts of more than 40 mph, Jason Brianes was manning his own booth at “Miyagi’s Wax On, Wax Off.” He made casts of hands – children’s hands, couple’s hands clasped together.

“It’s a keepsake, it’s a souvenir to take home with you,” he explained to a festival-goer. “Everybody who comes up picks a different hand gesture. It can be a thumbs-up. A No. 1. They get to pick the color of the wax. It’s great for little kids, so you can remember they were that small.”

The two-day festival ended Sunday at the Sedgwick County Park and offered people a chance to take a bawdy, boisterous trip back in time. Visitors were caught up by the sights and sounds of a replica 16th-century community that boasted tent booths with artisans, stages with dancers and an arena with pole tossing.

Wichitan Gail King was dressed as a pirate.

“My wife and I have come for many, many years – back when it was still at Newman (University),” King said. “They have had a tremendous turnout.”

The park was filled Sunday with music, families, roars and people munching on turkey legs and roasted ears of corn.

Branden LeRoy’s masked face and giant hammer indicated he was a mercenary.

“I like renaissance fairs,” LeRoy said. “What you can do with me is you can hire me to insult your friends for a dollar. I have a sharp tongue and loose lips.”

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner