By LeAnn R. Ralph
GLENWOOD CITY — Knights and ladies. Kings and queens. Fairies. Food. Fun. Fantasy.
“Ren in the Glen” takes place this weekend, Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26, on Dunn St. Croix Road between Glenwood City and Downing.
Described as a “Medieval Fantasy Faire,” visitors are encouraged to wear costumes from the Middle Ages (5th to the 15th Centuries) or from the Renaissance (14th to 16th Centuries).
The event has a Celtic theme with an emphasis on Scottish.
“We try to keep it like a big family,” said Cory Schroeder, one of the event organizers who was instrumental in starting Ren in the Glen in 2012.
“It’s nice because it’s off the beaten path … you can come and blend in and become part of the village,” he said.
This year’s Ren in the Glen will feature more than 100 entertainers from around the area, including Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“Many of the year-to-year favorites are coming back,” Schroeder said.
The list of entertainers includes the Fandazzi Fire Circus (music, dance and fire); Pizpor Magician (the world’s worst magic tricks); Barry the MacEwan (songs of Scotland and Ireland); Mustafa Ali (musician and teller of tales); The Mount Olympus Touring Company (belly dance); General Hardware Border Morris Dancers; Fight the Knight (test your mettle against an armored knight).
Vendors will be at the event as well from a variety of states, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.
The event’s website describes the vendor offerings as “from soap to leather, jewels to fine clothing, glass to herbs.”
Beer that will be served at The Tavern also is local, including beers made in Eau Claire, Dallas, Menomonie and Hudson, Schroeder said.
“I try to pick as much as I can that’s local,” he said.
Organizers have been working to make improvements to the Ren in the Glen site too.
For example, the gate house has been rebuilt, and The Tavern has been rebuilt and moved, Schroeder noted.
The budget for Ren in the Glen is still fairly small, “but we are happy to increase every year,” he said.
Last year, the event drew over 1,200 people. The year before, attendance was about 800, Schroeder said.
“We increased our sales by 25 percent last year, and we’ll be happy if we can do that again this year,” he said.
Attendees have come from some far-away locations.
“We’ve had people from all over, including British Columbia, Texas and Denmark … it has gotten around a little bit,” Schroeder said.
Before Ren in the Glen started in 2012, Schroeder said he had maintained quite a few contacts among people who had participated in other Renaissance fairs.
When the other fairs folded and went out of business, Schroeder said he had asked some of his contacts, “what can we do?”
The first Ren in the Glen was put on with donations, he said.
Ren in Glen charges an admission price, but all of the entertainers are volunteers, Schroeder said.
“We have a lot of people who believe in it,” he said.
Although the train comes through at least one time during Ren in Glen, “it is out of the way enough that you can’t really see the train cars. It’s more authentic when you can be away (from train or vehicle) traffic,” Schroeder said.
Parking is free at the event, and local Boy Scout members will be parking cars.
Members of the Glen Hills Lions Club have parked cars in previous years, but the help of the Boy Scouts will allow the Lions Club to help with other aspects of the event, Schroeder noted.
The cost of Ren in the Glen is $8 at the gate, and youngsters 12 and under are free.
“It makes a reasonable day out with the family,” Schroeder said.
Tickets can also be purchased in advance online for $6 at www.renintheglen.com.
Dogs are welcome at Ren in the Glen as long as owners keep them on a leash or in a pet carrier and have proof that their vaccinations are up to date.
Requirements for bringing dogs to the event also can be found on the Ren in the Glen website.
Sponsors for Ren in the Glen (1442 Dunn St. Croix Road) are the Glen Hills Lions Club, Airtec Sports of Menomonie, Smiley Bear Design (Black River Falls), and Sand Creek Brewing (Black River Falls).