Students Volunteer At Ren Fest


Fall brings a lot of things, both welcome and unwelcome. There’s the beginning of school, Halloween, apple cider, and pumpkin spice lattes. While the end of summer is a sad time for most, there are a few who use the season to live out a passion for acting, history and the fantastical.

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival is made up of people who share this passion. It doesn’t matter what position a person works in; be it a cast member, or even someone who works as a cashier at a food stand. Working with the festival provides a sense of community, and several members of this community are students at our school.

“At first I was super intimidated by the village cast as I had spent most of my time before casting with a different crowd,” senior Mack Grimes said. “I daresay I’ve never made such reliable and fun friends in such a relatively short amount of time.”

Sophomore Josie Swinford saw both the positives and negatives of her position.

“Sure, it’s a bit of a pain to have to wear about a hundred layers in the hottest weather ever, but, honestly, it’s worth it,” Swinford said.

Many of the workers believe that working at the fair is fun, but it also takes a lot of work, and the audition process is a very long and drawn out one. The current cast members hold dinners on Monday nights, starting in January. They also held workshops and informational meetings starting in February.

The auditions themselves were officially mid-April but the workshops were definitely part of the process,” Grimes said.

Cast members, on top of the audition process, must also provide their own costumes, by either buying them, making them, or a combination of both. Grimes spent roughly $200, including makeup and props.

“It sounds like a lot but that’s really quite cheap compared to a court member’s costume,” Grimes said.

While most workers do not take home a large paycheck, many of them are just volunteers, doing this because they simply enjoy it.

“It’s a lot of fun to interact with patrons and see their faces light up when I ask if they’d like to try and play my cello, and watch them walk away with smiles,” Swinford said.

While most enjoy their time given at the Ren Fest, they understand they are giving up their weekends. Workers are expected to be at the event from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every weekend during September and half of October.

“It’s a long day. If you have a bad morning, it’s hard to keep energy throughout the day,” Grimes said. “Being a full-time student with extra curricular activities doesn’t leave much room for recovery, either.”

Working at the Renaissance Festival may has its drawbacks, but most agree the pros outweigh the cons.

“I’m definitely planning on working at the Ren Fest next year,” Swinford said.