W.Va Renaissance Festival crews race to finish with opening weekend days away

W.Va Renaissance Festival
W.Va Renaissance Festival(WVVA)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:02 PM EDT
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LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WVVA) - Hear ye, hear ye, Lords and Ladies! It is once again time for the return of the West Virginia Renaissance Festival.

Each weekend in June, Lewisburg farmlands- which are usually full of cows being milked and chickens laying eggs- transform to create the medieval experience for visitors. But before fairgoers can partake in this annual merriment, there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes to make it a success.

“It’s months to do the artwork and the prep work to get ready and then there’s never enough time,” shared one of the event’s co-organizers Taso Stavrakis. “Now, what are we down to a week or so? And we’re still waiting for permits from the county and some inspector [has] gotta come out and look at the new rides that we have, so it’s always a rush at the end.”

Crews with the West Virginia Renaissance Festival are currently getting ready for their fifth season. And while it results in a month of magic and fun, it takes a lot of time, sweat and hard work to get there.

“It’s very involved and more and more so,” added Dawn Kieninger, Stavrakis’ partner. “I think we start planning as soon as the season ends for next year. We have a discussion about what we’d like to add, what did work and what didn’t work, and who’s coming back and who isn’t.”

Stavrakis and Kieninger moved to Greenbrier County in 2013.

Both have decades of Renaissance fair experience. In fact, Stavrakis began the country’s first jousting experience in the late 1970s. So, for them, transforming their farmland into permanent medieval structures and inviting thousands of strangers to their home each year was no issue.

“How nice, I mean, to go to a job that you love, right? And so we invented it. We built because that’s what we want to do. You know, we’re not bankers; we’re not lawyers. We entertain,” Stavrakis told WVVA.

So find your brightest garments and begin practicing that Old English speech because the West Virginia Renaissance Festival begins the first weekend in June.

Each weekend has a different theme that festivalgoers are invited to participate in. The schedule is as follows:

June 3 and June 4: Celtic Crossing

June 10 and June 11: Pirates Landing

June 17 and June 18: Beer & Barbarians

June 25 and June 26: Bacchanalia

The festival is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Tickets are $18 for adults, $8 for children ages eight to 12 and free for kids six and under. Click here to learn more.

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