The Smithville New Jersey Renaissance Faire

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We had so much fun going to the mock festivities at Smithville’s New Jersey Renaissance Faire. This is our first year attending the Faire and I’m so excited for the full performances starting this month.

 

The performances were located in a cute little historic village called Smithville. Smithville is located in Atlantic County, New Jersey not too far from the Jersey shore. While attending the festivities there were so many little restaurants and cute shops to visit in between watching the performances.

We had to grab some food at the bakery in the village. The smells going by the door were fantastic and the food was so delicious! We will most definitely will be back again!

While going in and out of the shops we got to see all the cool costumes people were wearing. I loved the costumes! Being surrounded by them almost takes you back to a much simpler time.

We are off to a fun start to the Renaissance Faire and they are opening their gates for their 9th annual season May 19th and will continue till June 3rd.

Since this is our first year, I wanted to find out some information about the New Jersey Renaissance Faire and the family activities at Smithville. We had the opportunity to meet up with Caroline, She has been with the New Jersey Renaissance Faire from the beginning. Caroline is an arts administrator by profession, and also one of the NJRF founding owners’ wives. She has been involved in various and sundry ways over the past nine years. She started by managing the very first admissions and consulted on operations when the Faire first started up. Caroline has also been the festival day controller (managing all the cash for admissions and activities), helped train seasonal administrative staff, and since the beginning she has coordinated the School Days at the Faire.

Since 2014 Caroline played a less active administrative role during the festival–that year she was 38 weeks pregnant, and since then she’s had a toddler in tow. Now on public Faire days, she attends as a patron and jumps in when and where needed. Caroline also takes vacation days from work to administer School Days at the Faire.

I had no idea the Smithville Renaissance Faire offered school days.
According to Caroline, since its founding, the New Jersey Renaissance Faire has offered School Days at the Faire. These are days that are closed to the public reserved exclusively for groups of school students. From the summer of 2012 leading up to the 2013 Faire, Caroline took the helm, growing the School Days program and booking members of the company to perform educational programs at schools. She set up the infrastructure, administration, contracting and booking processes and designed the first student study guide, which is still the base of their annual study guide for teachers and students. For her contribution and continued coordination of registration for School Days, they gave her the title, the Director of Education.

We enjoyed speaking with Caroline and I was amazed by how much she contributes to the New Jersey Renaissance Fair with having a family. Jokingly we got on the subject of superpowers since her involvement was extensive. She said, “if I could have a super power, it would be the power to stop time so that I could catch up on everything I want to do, do a bunch more and then carry on with all my responsibilities.” She would also use this super power to continue to grow the education programs of the New Jersey Renaissance Faire. The value and depth of curriculum connections that can be made through the subject matter of the Renaissance period in a hands-on, performing arts, festival environment are infinite. What a cool way to learn about the renaissance time period!

This year, School Days at the Faire will take place Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1, from 9:00am to 2:00pm. They are expecting almost 2800 students, most range from fifth through eight grades, but they also have elementary students all the way up through high school attend. The 2018 School Days revels (aka performances) schedule includes an abridged Hamlet, joust, human chess match, Shakespeare Approves (staring Shakespeare himself), History Speaks (an interview with live historical characters), and demos in archery, armory, dance glassblowing and stage combat, just to name a few. Students spend the day immersed in a Renaissance village interacting with an array of historical and fictitious period characters. This year’s story revolves around Grace O’Malley, the Irish pirate queen known for meeting Queen Elizabeth in an attempt to save her people from oppression.

NJRF teaching artists are also available throughout school year for workshops and Renaissance days at schools. And beyond K-12, NJRF also runs periodic adult classes in acting an stage combat. Inquiries about bringing NJRF into schools, and bringing schools to the Ren Faire, go through education@njrenfaire.com. The best contact to inquire about upcoming adult classes is huzzah@njrenfaire.com.

To get a better understanding of these services offered Beyond the School Days at the Faire, this year they will debut the children’s activity area, Nipper’s Nook (Kids Area), open on all public Faire days. There will be Renaissance-themed activities and crafting lead by Faire staff for children.

It was such a pleasure getting some resourceful information from her. We can not wait to go back for the full version of festivities this May. According to Caroline, during most of the day, they have archery, boating, a rock wall, a zip-line, and an Adventure Booth. The Faire also has constant interactions happening with cast members as our guests, young and old, exploring the grounds. Sounds like an amazing time!

Oh and for the adults there is a beer and wine garden, which offers tastings and sales. I know this mama might need some of that wine! Plus another area called the Meade Garden where slightly more mature shows will take place, please keep your children in mind when visiting these areas and drink responsibly!

Have you been to a Renaissance Faire? We love getting out and doing things as a family! The Smithville Renaissance Faire is a unique and awarding experience for the whole family to enjoy.

Check out the 2018 events at Smithville Renaissance Faire May 19, 20, 26, 27 and June 2 & 3
Faire times are 10am-6pm
To find out more and ticket purchases please visit
NJRenFaire.com

*The Kitty Crumbles received complimentary tickets for this visit.

All thoughts and opinions are solely our own.

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