T: Joust like old times S: Pleasure Faire opens in Vaca as crowd-pleaser A: Victor Balta/Staff Writer D: Aug 29, 1999 C: (c) 1999 Vacaville Reporter
The Nut Tree was finally back in business on Saturday, and it was just like olde times.
The Renaissance Pleasure Faire, after six weeks of preparation, opened the gates at 10 a.m. as the first of the thousands of attendees who are expected to take part feasted their eyes on the 1999 version.
The fair is making its home at the Nut Tree in Vacaville for this year only. It will move to its permanent home in Antioch next year. The Faire had resided in Novato since its inception 33 years ago.
The crowd was a mix of those who have been faithful attendees of the Faire for years and others who were seeing it for the first time. Many of the veterans hailed from the Bay Area while the rookies were mostly from the Sierra foothills and areas farther north in California.
"I've just never been, and we wanted to see what it was like," said Maria Szlachciuk of Pollock Pines, who added that they finally came to the Faire this year because of its proximity. "I think it's definitely more accessible (from where we live)."
Szlachciuk and her family already were planning for next year as they observed the droves of people, some Faire workers and others just Fairegoers, who were dressed up in timely costumes.
"We're just watching shows, looking at the crafts," said Maria's husband, Fred, before Maria chimed in with, "I'm looking at all the costumes I want to wear for the next one. That's the fun of it."
The Szlachciuk family, like most everyone else in attendance, was taken by the environment provided by the ride back in time.
"I like the atmosphere," said Zoe Anderson of Napa, who has attended the Faire off and on since its second year. "People get really into it, and the entertainment is pretty genuine."
Kat Toronto, Anderson's 18-year-old daughter, was also excited about the surroundings and her chance to show off some of her stuff.
"I like to get dressed up," she said. "It's a good way to just escape. It's like a whole different world."
Turkey legs, tomato and axe throws, archery and many other activities went along with the huge variety of crafts, from paintings and jewelry to leather and wood works.
While the idea of the Faire is to provide a true experience, Anderson said it is mostly a rough sketch - but a good one nonetheless.
"You get a small glimpse of what it actually might have been like," she said.
Traffic heading into the Faire was well under control, suggesting that the traffic plan put together by Faire organizers and the Vacaville Police Department worked to a T.
Also, according to Vacaville police Sgt. Nelson Wakimoto, there were no incidents reported in or around the Faire, other than a couple of cases of heat exhaustion.
The weather, however, while very warm, wasn't as many had expected for opening day.
"Luckily, it's not as hot as we thought it would be," Anderson said.
Fred Szlachciuk agreed, saying that it actually felt hotter when the Faire was in Novato.
"Out there it was in more (of) an open space," he said. "There wasn't as much shade as there is here."
Though the Faire had only six weeks before the opening day to prepare, everything appeared to be in place, just as would be expected.
"It doesn't have the feeling of being last-minute," Anderson said.