News: 1999-08.28-Opening

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T: Elizabethan-era fans beckoned to Nut Tree
A: Sean Gillespie/Staff Writer
D: Aug 28, 1999
C: (c) 1999 Vacaville Reporter

Vacaville's famed but defunct Nut Tree restaurant will be reborn this morning.

The former eatery's historic grounds will host the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, an Elizabethan-era festival that is projected to lure 10,000 people a day Northern Californians on 17 weekend days from today through Oct. 16.

This year will be the first and only time the event will be held at the Nut Tree, according to fair officials and property owners. It is a temporary stop between Novato, the Faire's home for the past 27 years, and Antioch, which is intended to become the next permanent home.

Shannon Wood, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Renaissance Entertainment Corp., said everyone at the grounds worked around the clock to prepare for early-morning opening ceremonies and the opening of the front gates at 10 a.m.

Construction of the Faire began shortly after organizers received planning approval from the city on June 15.

"We're accustomed to building this magical place in very little time," Wood said.

Thanks to many years of practice with Southern California's version of the fair, which is held in a public regional park, workers are adept at building the site from scratch and also taking it apart, said Wood.

"Weeks later you don't even realize there was a fair there."

However, the event is expected to be quite prominent in the community while it is going on. Organizers are projecting 6,000 cars will pull into the parking lot every day of the operation.

Traffic studies have predicted the peak traffic flow hours to be between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Vacaville Police Department joined with the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans to devise a traffic plan that would keep backups off Interstate 80.

Cars on eastbound I-80 will be directed to Allison Drive and Vaca Valley Road - via Interstate 505 - and westbound cars will be sent to Vaca Valley from the Leisure Town Road exit from I-80.

Capt. Al Winfield said traffic patrols in the area will be increased to assist the flow around Factory Stores at Vacaville, which is expected to bring high volumes of back-to-school shoppers to share the streets with Faire-goers.

Wood said organizers are expecting the best.

"We're also delighted the smoke has lifted," said Wood, referring to the oppressive airborne residue from wildfires around Northern California this week. "Although it gave for a very English atmosphere to have fog rolling in. It looked like the mist of England."

Admission to the event is $17.50 for adults and $7.50 for children ages 5 to 11. Today, Sunday and on Labor Day weekend, adult tickets will be 2-for-1 with a coupon.

Those seeking more information can call 1-800-52-FAIRE.