Going Medieval: The Fabulous, Fantastical Players of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire

The decades-old cosplay precursor carries on in all its batty glory, abetted by L.A.’s freelance lords, ladies, and knaves.


It’s not the just the wonderful arts and crafts, or the original shows on dozens of stages, or even the chance to pretend to have traveled back in time 500 years that makes the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire the special place it is. Rather, it’s the participants. These thousands of people comprise the heart and soul of the festival, which just wrapped its 61st year at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale.

These talented, eccentric characters—the whimsical Willy Wonka-style garland seller at Greenman florals, the foul-mouth troll at Morgan Games dunk tank, the wizard performing magic in the streets, the grip of guilds closing the Faire with a smile and a song and a parade—are what keep Renaissance Faire regulars coming back year after year. 

As a photographer, I find that these individuals are also irresistible subjects. Here some my favorite portraits I have taken of the people who make the Faire an unfailingly wondrous, magical, and unforgettable experience.