HANFORD — Thousands gathered in Civic Park over the weekend to take a trip — to the 1500s.
Kings County lived up to its name as the 41st annual Renaissance of Kings Faire brought the royal charms of medieval England to Hanford over the course of Saturday and Sunday.
“It was a good event this year, we really liked it,” said Monica Sanchez who attended the event with her children Alicia, 6, and Christopher Alvarez, age 5.
Both children were knighted during a show, they said, but their favorite part of the day was hunting down a dragon egg based on clues.
“Good, good, good,” the children chanted when asked how it felt to finally find the “dragon egg” after about a 90-minute scavenger hunt.
The event featured multiple performances by bellydancers, jugglers and other types of performers, as well as unique foods and beverages and many unique shopping options for those in the need of figurines, jewelry, clothing or just some good, old fashioned medieval weaponry to protect themselves from greedy dragons or invading Mongolians.
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Middle Ages without everyone’s favorite scurvy dogs – pirates.
Brothers Scott Semenic and Joel Bayne attended the Faire in full pirate garb.
While talking to the Sentinel, a young girl approached Semenic to ask, if he was indeed a pirate, then where was his pirate ship?
“It’s docked in San Luis Obispo,” he said in his jauntiest pirate voice.
Seemingly satisfied with both his answer and authenticity as a pirate, the girl walked away.
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These interactions are common when Semenic attends an event in character as Captain Henry Avery.
“They see the ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ movies and they see us and it’s right there in front of their face and they don’t know how to take it,” he said.
Semenic, now 30, has been attending renaissance fairs since he was as old as many of the children who approach him to ask questions or tell a joke.
Multiple times over the weekend, he was stopped by a child asking, “what’s a pirate’s favorite letter?” It’s “arrr,” of course.
“I get asked that more than anything else,” he said.
The event marked the first Kings Faire for Bayne, who has only attending about half a dozen fairs since getting into the hobby.
“I like everybody coming together and being in character. I like the camaraderie of it,” Joel said.
Scott likened the Renaissance Festivals to a family reunion, both literally as he gets to see his brother, and figuratively, as the guilds and vendors that populate the makeshift medieval cities often travel to the same events.
Scott recently moved from Fresno to San Diego and said he was happy to reunite with old friends at the Hanford event.
“It’s like a reunion to us and we get to interact with patrons that don’t know too much about this history,” Scott said. “If I could do this every single day, I would.”