Greenbank Farm will transcend time during the island’s first Renaissance festival on Saturday, July 25.
Unlike traditional Renaissance fairs, the event at Greenbank will incorporate concepts of the historical 16th and 17th century European Renaissance as well as the renaissance of the modern era.
Renaissance at the Farm is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free; donations go to help the farm.
Jerry Lloyd, event organizer, noted that much like the Renaissance of the 16th and 17th centuries, many aspects of modern culture, including the arts and agriculture, are undergoing a period of change.
As an example of the modern renaissance, Lloyd pointed to the increased interest in practices like slow food, craft brewing, organic farming and falconry.
Many such practices are a reflection of a desire to reconnect with the earth in a sustainable manner. Presenters will discuss each of these topics during the festival.
Lloyd explained that his intention is not to mimic the style or concept of more traditional festivals — which often forego modern conveniences such as electricity in the spirit of historical accuracy — but to delve into the definition of the word “renaissance,” with a particular focus on linking the past and present eras.
Marcus Raymond, entertainment coordinator, is himself a professional whose art originates in history.
Raymond is a renowned juggler, escape artist and comedian, art forms derived from court jesters, who were employed to keep nobility’s spirits high.
Raymond likened the Greenbank festival theme to a “celebration of transition.”
Additional entertainment will include a mixture of traditional and modern acts such as sword demonstrations, magic, Shakespeare sonnet readings, dog shows, horse shows and music from such artists as the Bards of Keypoynt.
Raymond’s wife, Donna Raymond, is also assisting with festival coordination. She has also had extensive experience attending and working at traditional Renaissance fairs.
The first time she attended, she recalled a feeling of connection, as though she were home.
“It’s kind of a place where I could go and escape from everyday life,” she said. “I just love the whole concept of being in a time that seemed simpler, in my eyes.”
Donna Raymond added that she thinks it fitting for the Greenbank festival to incorporate modern and historical aspects, given Greenbank Farm’s symbolism of history and community.
The Raymonds plan to establish a village which will feature entertainment in the center circled by a variety of vendors.
Lloyd and several others will partake in equestrian events in the newly-established small arena.
“Our objective is not to do jousting and knock each other off our horses, our objective is to stay on the horses,” said Jerry Lloyd, joking about the difference between this and other Renaissance-themed events.
Lloyd and his wife, Connie Lloyd, will be joining several other riders in the arena for a display of classical dressage.
Other riders will perform a traditional Spanish and Portuguese garrocha, which rider Carol McCardle likened to a ballet.
“You learn to ride very mindfully,” said rider Kate Noble. Noble explained that older horse events such as dressage and garrocha are quite a bit different from relatively modern styles such as hunter-jumper, which require more of a “get up and go” approach.
McCardle explained that, in the distant past, being a good horseman was indicative of a person’s ability to lead.
“If you were a good horseman, you would be a good leader of men,” she said.
Over the centuries, the relationship between humans and horses evolved, with horses being employed for both sport and war until WWII, at which point the animals became obsolete on the battlefield, McCarlde said.
Recently, emphasis has again returned to the more gentle and mindful approach, she explained.
McCardle, Noble and the Lloyds will be donning 16th and 17th century-inspired attire in the spirit of the festival, and of fun.
Jerry Lloyd said he encourages any who wish to to do the same.
For information on Renaissance at the Farm, visit Greenbankfarm.biz