Ah, 'tis spring and all the land is faire . . . at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire at ye olde Paramount Ranch in the gently dimpled hills of Agoura.
Rain postponed the opening of the Faire last weekend, but everything is in place today for the usual pageantry and play.
This year (the Faire's 26th), the 400th anniversary of Sir Francis Drake's defeat of the Spanish Armada, is being celebrated every weekend through June 5. Fairegoers can see the great navigator himself or listen to his compatriots spin yarns along Freebooter's Way. Or perhaps pay their respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I when she makes her daily progress through the village at 3 p.m.
From downtown Los Angeles, take U.S. 101 north to the Chesebro exit, then follow the signs to the Faire's imaginary English village of Chipping-under-Oakwood. There will be 3,000 costumed revelers, buskers, hawkers of goods, village clowns and clergy alike and Elizabethan nobles wandering in true-to-the-period costumes.
Visitors to this little bit of Elizabethan whimsy can mingle with the natives, sipping beer and eating bangers (sausage and fried onions on a roll), shepherd's pye , turkey drumsticks dripping with sauce or an icy sherbet. Outdoor odors of damp earth and straw mix with those of barbecuing chicken, incense and oils. In the spirit of the event are jugglers, mummers and actors enacting bawdy Elizabethan tales.
Get into the swash of things, and buckle up your boots and drag out those old baggy knickers or Gypsy skirt from the back of the closet; the costume's the thing! (One can even rent one at the Faire.)
Or, best of all, pause in the dappled shade of the venerable oaks and just soak up the atmosphere as the afternoon sun slants like golden banners through the trees, while you sit on scruffy hay bales and watch the play of light on the color and ribaldry.
The Faire opens, with appropriate pageantry, at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Tickets are $14.50 for adults; $11.50 for ages 60 and over or anyone with valid student identification; $7.50 for children 5 through 11; 4 and under are free. Information: (213) 202-8854).