Fenix in a styling mask

When we came back from the Gulf Coast we had no idea we were racing an infectious wave up the East coast. We did everything wrong, we hugged people we ate at dives, we used road stops and sketchy gas stations and clambered into overcrowded vehicles with little air circulation.

Well our guardian angel or whatever you believe got us all home safely and a week later we were all working remotely and scrambling to put together some sense of continuity. From sun, cheering crowds and rubbing elbows to masks, physical distance and hunkering down in our homes.

And then the cancellations began, and the Rennie community will tell you it was heartbreaking. And all the costumed/kitted communities will tell you the same.  Online is not the same as real life-especially when you have a business/hobby that involves participation in a time before cell phones and computers.

Some faires went online like the New Hampshire Renaissance Faire. We were scheduled to perform there for the first time and then BAM cancelled.   But they/we rallied and did an online faire!

As the strictures eased we thought we might to another event but as you know, the numbers of infected are not good.

Our state clamped down and down at least we can attend outdoor events (some) eat in restaurants and will have a major sporting event this Sunday (no audience mind you)

Other states were not so restrictive and some dear friends caught COVID. (recovering, thank goodness)   And although we were invited  to perform in one of those states we regretfully had to turn it down. It is going to be a “drive through” (in a carriage) faire and sounds like a blast but the travel would have forced quarantine and none of us can afford that financially, personally and emotionally.

A couple of us had been doing weekend trips to a nearby (and cleared) state from our hermitage to our friend’s hermitage and enjoying some time extensively outside.  That state was able to ease restrictions and had been having outdoor farmers’ markets and other events for a few weeks already.   One faire continued to stay on the schedule. It was a tiny faire, run by a fraternal group we wondered if it was going to happen. Six weeks out we asked the troupe members if they felt comfortable participating.  We agreed that we’d be good with working together and making it happen. 

We were oh-so careful and had troupe masks made.  We had hand sanitizer, additional paper masks, and a fight protocol on only fighting in “family groups” and we cut out any grappling and touches that fell outside of that scope.  And we weren’t scheduled so we could work in small bursts. And since our acts are swords and fire, we had social distancing built in

When we hit the faire it was A LOT of space for relatively few people. Won’t lie, because we tried not to travel anywhere in the faire we felt a bit like a zoo exhibit.  A lot of folks didn’t make it in at 10:00am as they were taking temps and checking masks at the gate. People were polite and respectful. Saturday was a very long day (there at 8:00am-left at 9:45-ish pm) and Sunday was quiet enough that the faire packed up early.

Do I think that we can do socially distanced faires? Yes if they are small and everyone follows the social contract of mutual respect. Are we doing the faire in AL? No. Does it look good for FL in March? Not really which makes us quite sad. We have to travel through states that are still in denial about a national pandemic and frankly, I love doing faires but when I don’t feel like they are on the same page with safety that we are, I have no interest in risking our staff for that.

Let all hope Dr. Fauci is correct about a vaccine in the works!