HANFORD — After a one-year hiatus, the Renaissance of Kings Cultural Arts Faire will return in full force this October.
City Manager Darrel Pyle said the comeback was made possible by renewed interest on the part of Renaissance vendors, entertainers and other participants.
“About a month ago the phones started ringing and they wanted to put on a renaissance faire,” Pyle said.
Hanford’s 35th annual event was canceled last October due to a lack of interest by vendors. Many of the entertainers signed on under the condition that the event would only include period-appropriate food and craft vendors.
By late August, the Hanford Parks and Recreation Department only had a handful of vendors committed to participate in an event slated just more than a month away. The department began slashing vendor fees and accepting payment by credit card as incentives, but to no avail.
Facing low vendor turnout and high costs to the city to proceed, former Parks and Recreation Director J. Dean Johns canceled the Renaissance faire for the first time since the tradition began.
The event was replaced with the Hanford Fall Festival, which featured food, drinks, vendors and live music.
Interim Parks and Recreation Director Milt Stowe, who has been with the department since June 17, said he knew little about the event until the phone began to ring.
“I had several people ask if we were going to bring it back,” Stowe said
As of Friday, Stowe said the city had already lined up about 10 vendors in just two days. He said he is still waiting for confirmation from others. Entertainment is set to include jugglers, fire throwers, the village idiot and other performers.
“It’s going to be just like it was never gone,” Stowe said.
Last year’s cancellation was consistent with actions by other nearby cities.
Pyle noted that Coalinga was recently forced to skip its annual Renaissance faire. He said this year appears to be different, at least for Hanford, due to changes within the organizations that put on the events.
“Timing probably does have a lot to do with it,” Pyle said.
Although no funds were included in this year’s budget for the event, Pyle said the city’s expenses are typically low. Any costs associated with providing the venue could be paid for using resources already at the city’s disposal, he said.
The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or by email at meiman@HanfordSentinel.com.