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LAKE CASITAS : Hundreds Attend Renaissance Faire

March 28, 1994|JEFF McDONALD

The scent of musk incense and patchouli drifted through the air as the shore along Lake Casitas was transformed over the weekend into a 16th-Century English village.

Hundreds of people took advantage of light breezes and warm temperatures Sunday afternoon to attend the last day of the annual Ojai Renaissance Faire.

Dozens of vendors selling everything from swords and daggers to jewelry and handmade garlands lined the lakeside, where characters from Elizabethan England acted out stage plays and fantasies from centuries past.

"It's a beautiful day and a chance to be outdoors," Kathy Hodgson, a brokerage house assistant from Simi Valley, said as she sipped on a strawberry margarita.

"I've enjoyed Renaissance fairs for years," she said. "People from that time just seem to have enjoyed life more, despite the hardships."

On a wooden stage nearby, a court jester was preparing for his juggling and comedy routine before about two dozen spectators.

"There's an idiot on stage," the jester yelled to the audience.

"Here, sir. Can you stand up here for a minute?" he asked a man in the front row, who promptly declined to participate.

At the "Shadow Dragon" exhibit, blindfolded villains Ludwig and Turtle were engaged in a fierce balancing game that had them adding to a tower of 2-by-4-foot boards by pulling out boards from the bottom and placing them on top.

After several near-misses, Turtle finally toppled the tower, losing amid bitter claims of foul.

"Ludwig won but we don't really know," said Nathan, the judge and publican presiding over the contest. "It might have been pushed."

A rematch was scheduled later in the day.

Although the atmosphere was 16th Century, prices were more like 20th Century. One booth was selling old-time foils and bayonets for as much as $325.

"It's the period, the dressing up," said Kevin Smith of KS Steel in Redondo Beach, who manned the sword and antique booth Sunday wearing a T-shirt proclaiming himself a born-again pagan. "Most of the people who are buying this stuff are buying it for accessories to costumes they already have."

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