This time last year, our lives were forever changed. As a vendor, performer and cast member of faire, our shop was closed down, our show schedule was completely cancelled and we, along with everyone else became victim to faires and festivals all over the world closing. Our income and businesses were hit hard, thus we are looking forward to this season of faire. We have learned so much this year about how to sanitize and take precautions that save lives concerning Covid. Below are 10 ways that patrons can help favorite vendors, performers and faires deal with this new world as we head into the 2021 season.
Read Guidelines: There are federal mandates which differ from state mandates which differ from faire regulations for attendance. Familiarize yourself with the Covid precaution requirements for the specific faire you’ll be attending and follow those requirements. Regardless of what others choose to do or not do, the faire is depending on us to uphold precautions and help them to continue being able to offer the place of bliss that is faire. It truly is up to us.
Though currently in the state of Texas and many other places, the mask requirement has been lifted, many faires and festival still require a mask and it within their right to do this. Choose something effective and fun! Many faire vendors and performers will be offering masks as a product this season, support them, respect requirements and show some love for your favorite vendor or performer.
Keep a few pocket size sanitizers on you as well as some wipes and a couple disposable masks. What a great excuse to buy a new belt pouch! Keeping several and a variety of sanitizers will come in handy when someone needs one, in reference to restrooms and in reference to vending. If disposable masks aren’t your thing, support vendors by buying masks sold at faire. If each of us takes precautions, we will be a positive force forward.
High Contact Items
Apprehensive about utensils and eating ware? Buy your own and keep them with you. Many faire vendors offer personal eating utensils, mugs, plates, bowls and so much more! Not only is it environmentally responsible but you never have to worry about others handling your wares and can enjoy them all year round.
Even the folks with the best of intentions will sometimes default to the old ways. Be a “defensive driver”. Pick up the slack when others forget to social distance by simply moving. It’s an easy way to make a positive impact and will help to ensure that faires can remain open.
Cash is king when it comes to tipping your favorite vendors and performers! After interviewing several vendors and performers, I learned that they do have methods in place for safely handling cash but consider this: in order to help them “wash” their money, consider going to the bank and instead of getting paper money for tipping, ask for $1 gold coins. They are fun to tip with, much more “period” than paper money and will hold up better after “washing”.
When purchasing food, please make sure to stay behind the Plexiglas partition if there is one. Many folks have the tendency or habit to lean around the glass to communicate better. Acquiring food will take incrementally more time because of distance and precautions. Please be patient with food vendors and fellow patrons in line and keep in mind that they are working as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining new safety standards. When your order is complete, please clear that area in order to help operations run as smoothly as possible.
You’re walking down a lane and see your favorite band, performer, stage act or friend, the habit is to approach them and give them a hug! Everyone is, of course, free to make their own choices about contact but when approaching a vendor or performer, please keep a proper social distance and if you feel like you want some kind of contact, just ask first. Performers will appreciate your gesture and it will mean so much more than a hug. It means you respect them, treasure their skill and talent and find what they do and their life valuable.
This is uncharted territory and we are pioneers! If you have a questions about what to do, just ask. There will be many questions as we enter this season and discover new situations. There is no shame in asking. Our goal is to create a fun and safe environment for all.
There will be folks attending faire this season who are adamantly opposed to restrictions put in place by faire and those feelings may become more apparent as the day goes on and the beer and mead flow. We all have our own personal beliefs for our own personal reasons as it takes all kinds of kinds. However, when you have the opportunity to peacefully help when encountering a negative situation on regards to precautions, take it. That could mean moving away, offering sanitizer or an extra disposable mask or just not engaging. As we navigate through the unknown, most of all, be kind. Artists, businesses and patrons have been stifled through this process and now is the time to reemerge. There will be some bumps in the road, no doubt, but if we work together, as is our way, forward and positive momentum will be gained. Huzzah!
Kristen Johnston is a professional archer and lifetime performer. She began her training in dance at the age of two and pursued a career in classical ballet. After completing her BFA and MPA, her interests turned back towards archery. Training with the mantra “Do whatever it takes and start now.” has led her to two world titles, multiple national titles and numerous state, regional and local titles in longbow, recurve and Asiatic. She has been named an Archery Influencer and has been featured on programs such as The Push Archery and Quickshots. Preforming The Longbow Show and sharing the joy of traditional archery with others is her passion. Kris is honored to captain the professional shooting team “Trad Tour”. She owns a traditional archery shop with her husband, is the mother to two children and is a Level 2 USA Archery Certified Instructor.
All Photos: Robert Self, at Sherwood Forest Faire
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