Today, everyone is familiar with Renaissance Faires. But it was in 1963 that Ron Patterson helped to start the very first modern Renaissance Faire, in Marin County, near San Francisco, California. The first Faire grew out of a children’s art program which Mr. Patterson and his then wife, Phyllis, had established in their backyard in Los Angeles.
Patterson’s faire tried to invoke traditional Renaissance springtime markets and harvest festivals. Every performer, vendor, or staff person was subjected to various workshops to ensure as much authenticity as possible.
The Renaissance Faires in California quickly became local traditions and then spread across the country. Today, there are over 200 Renaissance Faires operating in the United States and Canada.
Ron Patterson died in January 2011 at the age of 80.
While the family no longer owns the Renaissance Faire, Mr. Patterson’s sons Kevin and Brian continue to operate the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, which Ron Patterson and his wife founded in 1970 and which occurs yearly in San Francisco.
We are pleased to induct Ron Patterson into the Renaissance Festival Hall of Fame.
Without Rob Middleton, Renaissance Faires across the country would have much less interesting music.
Back in the 1980’s, Middleton was performing at King Richard’s Faire in Wisconsin. At that time, Renaissance Faire music consisted mainly of madrigals, ballads, and wandering minstrels plucking on harps. Middleton, who has performed with a number of groups including CrossRogues, Cloverleaf and Parcel of Rogues, introduced sea shanties and Celtic drinking songs and ballads into the mix. Suddenly, Renaissance Faire music was fun!
With the introduction of catchy, sing-along type tunes, music quickly became a vital part of the Renaissance Faire scene all over the country.
For changing the sound of Renaissance Faires from somber to sprightly, scholarly fare to pure entertainment, the Renaissance Festival Hall of Fame honors Robert Middleton.