Faire History - the Origins of Pleasure Faire
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May 11, 2013 marked 50 years - to the day - since the first
Renaissance Pleasure Faire & May Market opened its gates on May 11, 1963!

YOU are invited to share in this experience by listening to a 40-minute Soundscape recorded on that very day, with accompanying images of the earliest years of the Faire.


Also viewable on YouTube on our Dickens Fair channel!

David Ossman, radio host and co-founder of the Firesign Theatre, has lovingly edited down the original tape (reel tape!) from over 6 hours. David, who continues to perform and produce today, has been kind enough to allow us to share this edited piece with all of our Faire family.

How did all this folderol - this 'Faire' way of life and growing industry - begin? You all know various versions of the story...

It was 1962 and Phyllis Patterson was a high school history and English teacher, home on maternity leave and missing the daily interaction with her students. Ron Patterson was a theatrical and whimsical art director at a Hollywood graphics firm. Los Angeles was just beginning to lead the way in new theatre and music forms, and many people were interested in shedding the constricted conformity of the 1950s and the heavy hand of McCarthyism. The 'Sixties' had not yet begun - two years into the new decade, people were living in a holdover of the 50s.

So, hopeful (and intent on some fun artistic endeavors), Ron and Phyllis invited the neighborhood schoolchildren - the 9 and 10 year-old daughters and sons of Hollywood writers, directors, and others - to sign up for inventive drama and art classes called "Into the Woods." And in the Hills of Hollywood, they gathered around them a band of merry artists, actors and musicians, and a thrilling concept was conceived.

The rest, as they say, is history... living history, in fact!

The Soundscape you are invited to enjoy will give you a window on that sublime moment in the 'pre-Faire' world. Interviews taken that day include Carl Reiner, Preston Hibbard, Judy Kory, Ron Patterson, and (the lady herself) Phyllis Patterson.

The Faire was born fifty years ago as a one-time fundraiser for KPFK/Pacifica Radio on the West Coast. At that time, no one - especially Phyllis and Ron - had any idea how successful and inspirational the Faire would be. Speaking to something in people's hearts that yearned for a change (even a change to the distant past), the Faire truly struck a chord!

The Faire has nurtured and inspired several generations of our family to become more than they ever thought they could be. It sparked numerous other events, many developed and run by people who came to the Faire as children or were born there. No other public event in history has had such a profound impact on the culture of its people. And in this Soundscape you can hear the subtle echoes of what it would become!

Please enjoy this window into the world of 1963 as it embraced the novel concept of 'bringing history to life.'

Yours in merriment,
The Patterson Family of Red Barn Productions
Founders of the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in 1970
And the Renaissance Faire concept in America in 1963

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