GVSU holds 21st annual Renaissance Festival

By Samantha Elliott-Mosley | 10/5/16 11:48pm

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GVL/Mackenzie Bush - Ezzy Ronda melts rods of glass to make beads at the Renaissance Fstival on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 outside of Kirkof.

by Mackenzie Bush / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Noble knights, tavern patrons, students and community members transformed themselves and Grand Valley State University’s campus to celebrate the 21st annual Renaissance Festival.

Festival attendees gathered on the lawn in front of the Cook Carillon Tower Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2 to watch reenactors battle with swords or spin fire, learn about life during the Renaissance and buy goods from vendors.

Mackenzie Bush

GVL/Mackenzie Bush - Vince Giacalone works on building a bed from homemade tools used in the 1500s at the Renaissance Festival outside Kirkof on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.

Peasant and pirate-based groups, among many others, set up tents for attendees to experience all aspects of Renaissance culture at the annual event. Handmade goods such as jewelry, clothing and food were sold.

Founded in 1995 by four GVSU students, the GVSU Renaissance Festival is one of the longest-running student organizations on campus.

The club anticipates and plans for the festival all year, and holds pride in being the largest student-run renaissance festival in the country. In addition, the Renaissance Festival is one of Michigan’s only free festivals and focuses on ensuring the event is family friendly and inclusive.

Jordan Sickrey, merchant director for the festival, said the preparation leading up to the fair was hard and stressful work, but worth it for the final product.

“This is the most fun I have all year,” Sickrey said.

After the all of the hard work in making sure the festival can run without error, Sickrey changed roles on the day of the festival and pursued the role of Riona Starsight, the "Queen of the Fairies."

“We want everyone to be able to come, and enjoy themselves and just kind of forget about the real world for a while,” Sickrey said.

This is Sickrey’s third year being involved with the GVSU Renaissance Festival. Although the weather did not boast clear skies all weekend and there were fewer vendors than in the past, she said this was her best year so far.

Corbett Lambert, the festival's head of site, entertainment and treasurer, said the event drew in about 2,000 people. Lambert said the sense of extended community and fun the Renaissance Festival provides, as both a club and during the annual event, is a memorable experience.

“It’s one big family, people you can rely on,” Lambert said. “I know most of these people by their first name, and I love meeting everyone else who attends. The Renaissance Festival is something everyone should go to at least once.”

In addition, Sickrey also values the lasting relationships formed through the GVSU Renaissance Festival.

“This weekend has been about remembering that this isn’t just a club. It’s a family,” Sickrey said.

In the past, the group has held other events such as the Duke’s Ball and Yule Faire, which are annual upcoming events for the semester.

Meetings for the Renaissance club are held on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center. For more information regarding the club and events, visit the GVSU Renaissance Festival OrgSync webpage.

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