May 24, 2010

Behind the Renfaire Scene, Interview with a vendor

Since I have now visited the Southern California Renaissance Faire twice, it is definitely time to share another interview. This time, I interviewed vendor A. Dawn Wolf of the Hallowed Tree booth.

How long have you worked faires, what is your current job?
I've been working since them 2000, so that's 10 years now... wow how time flies. My current job is working at a booth called Hallowed Tree that sells puppets, furniture and toys.

What is the most challenging part about setting up at renaissance faires?
Putting up the entire booth! It takes several weekends. Also removing the splinters afterwards.

Do faire workers/peformers mind being called rennies (not sure if that's like Star Trek fans hating the word Trekkies)?
I haven't been called that, that I remember. But I can't see people at the faires I've worked really hating being called rennies.

Are you responsible for making your costume and making sure it's period?
Our costumes are required to be as period as possible. So that's at least two skirts, a chemise, bodice, belt, and two items covering my hair (snood and hat). I used to make my own costumes, but I don't have the time anymore. Luckily, one of my friends is a seamstress, so I tend to have my outfits made by her now. Her stuff is so much better than anything I've ever sewn together.

What happens after the crowds leave? Immediate clean up and outta there or hang around and have shindigs?
Depends on which faire I'm at. I'm a huge nerd, so my shindigs tend to be playing Dungeons & Dragons, watching movies like "Serenity" or just hanging out with friends. Yes, a group of us actually have an ongoing D&D campaign that we play after hours. Some might find it very dull, but most of the time these are friends that I haven't seen for a year, so I feel like hanging out with them.

Do you/have you worked at multiple faires?
In the past I really did, back in the days when gas was cheaper and I had a full time job on the week days to pay for the travel. But even then I tended to stay around the California faires. Like Northern California Renaissance Faire, Santa Barbara Faire, Southern California Renaissance Faire, etc. Now it all depends on if I have the extra cash to pay for traveling or if I can bum a ride from someone.

What's your favorite thing about working a faire?
So many things. I would normally say that it's because I have a love for dressing up, but it's more than that. I think it's the people. I'm around people that are having fun, dressing up, street acting, and enjoying a simpler time. Plus I love working with others that have the same nerdy interests I do. I can't go to weekday work and debate over D&D 4.0 or quote lines from a favorite web comic that just came out. Also the talent. In my booth I have a seamstress, knitters, yarn spinners, a couple of singers, a jewelry designer, a movie prop designer, a wood craftsman, and several others that I'm probably forgetting. I'm the token artist.

I think it's awesome to know that some of the renfaire workers might be hanging out after and playing D&D. Makes me adore them even more. Also, as a side note, Wolf also has a kickin' webcomic called Zombie Ranch.

If you would like to be interviewed for this series, please contact me –


  1. I like getting this behind the scenes perspective. The people who put on Ren Faires (I've been to Bristol and the Phoenix Faire several times)do such a good job that I don't even think about all the work they have to do.

    This weekend I'm going to the St. Louis faire and I'll be posting about it. Your posts have been great build-up to my upcoming faire trip! Thanks. :)

  2. Me too. I just get immersed in the environment they have built and tend to forget about the preparation. I hope to talk to some performers and continue this series for a while to come because it's fascinating to peek behind the curtain. :)

    Have fun at the St. Louis faire, I look forward to seeing photos!


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