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Risley Hall hosted a renaissance fair as a celebration of medieval culture.

May 8, 2018

Students Revive the Renaissance with Annual Risley Fair

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Risley Hall brought the renaissance to campus on Sunday with a celebration of medieval arts like chainmail making, pottery and swordplay.

The Renaissance Fair is a semi-annual event open to students and members of the public, many of whom dressed up in period-appropriate clothing and sported accessories like replica swords.

Ashley Follensbee ’18 wore a black ruffled dress with cat-like face paint, and compared the event to some of the other dress-up events held at Risley.

“We run a lot of events in Risley. We run Rocky Horror, MasqueRave, [and] a lot of events have costumes of some kind. This one and Rocky in particular for that, we actually have an entire room dedicated to costumes,” Follensbee said.

Students set up stations around Risley Hall for making flower crowns, chain and scale mail and face painting, all while listening to ambient medieval music.

Evan Walsh, Risley Hall director, compared the fair to other student-run events like Harry Potter Day and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and outlined plans for next year.

“It’s happened every other year. This year is a little more low key, and they say we’re going to try to do something in the fall that’s a little bigger with more outdoor activities,” Walsh said.

The main event for Friday’s fair was a performance by Ring of Steel, a student stage combat club that meets three times a week to hone their skills choreographing and performing sword fights.

Erin Dempsey ’21, Crystal Chang ’21 and Melanie Johnson ’18 were among the fighters who performed a series of duels featuring homemade chainmail and real metal swords, dulled for safety.

“Basically we’re around for things like this, renaissance festivals, [and] we performed at May the Fourth the other night,” Dempsey said. The group has also performed at the Johnson Museum and for Game of Thrones Night.