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'These are my people': Kentucky Renaissance Fair brings magic to the Commonwealth

The 18th Kentucky Renaissance Festival brings the magic of the middle ages to the middle of Kentucky.

EMINENCE, Ky. — There’s something about fantasy that draws us in and takes us away to a new land. As Ed Frederick puts it, it offers “Total Escapism.”

Frederick is one of four co-owners of the Kentucky Renaissance Fair in Eminence, Kentucky.

Frederick says he fell in love with the atmosphere surrounding a Renaissance festival while living in Texas.

“I walked through the gate and I was immediately hooked. I mean I want to do this,” he said.

And he did. Along with his wife and daughter and her husband, the four moved back to Kentucky in 1999, found a spot that experts told them was perfect, and built out the fairgrounds.

Frederick says that the location is great, but what makes a festival really click is the people who want to be a part of it; from actors, to musicians, to the guests who come to the forest looking for that total escape.

“We had a little girl here a couple of weeks ago…She walked in and looked around and said these are my people,” Frederick said.

“It’s family entertainment. There’s no other venue in Kentucky that you can go to, for this price, and get this much entertainment,” he continued.

The Renaissance Fair offers a variety of entertaining activities ranging from mud shows, to live jousts, and plenty of music to accompany you as you walk through the stalls of vendors who are there to sell outfits, swords, or decorations.

For the last eight years, Jeremey Thomas has been doing just that at the Kentucky Renaissance Fair. He’s a glass blower who travels from fair to fair spinning his glass pieces and talking to audiences about his job.

“I really like seeing people who have never seen it before kind of come in and just see that magic happen,” said Thomas. “You know it’s especially different when you see it live instead of on YouTube or something. You really can get a sense of what goes into something like that.”

Thomas said that he views his role as one of the cast members tasked with creating the atmosphere that helps the fair succeed year after year.

“You can’t have a Renaissance festival without all the parts,” said Thomas. “You’ve got to have the entertainment, you’ve got to have the vendors, you’ve got to have the demonstration, the living history, all of that. You can’t do one part of it only.”

“Just seeing that magic, there’s not a lot of places you get to see that anymore. We kind of live in a society that’s sort of flat so to be able to have that magic feeling attached to that is nice.”

That magic is what helps the fair grow year after year.

Frederick says they have more than 30 new vendors this year and are excited to welcome guests to the grounds through the end of July.

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