Renaissance Faire: A Family-Inspired Affair
Writer / Janet C. Striebel
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Come all ye lords and ladies. ‘Tis time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Fishers Renaissance Faire as you travel back to the golden age of Queen Elizabeth I. Experience a true British historical sensation as you meet more than 250 costumed characters, watch full-contact armored jousting by the Knights of Valour, swordplay, comedy stage shows, roving comedy, fire breathing, aerial acts, juggling, knighting ceremonies, parades, and listen to live music from various entertainers.
Volunteers of this theatrical production work hard nearly all year in order to capture the Elizabethan era delivering every detail with graceful eloquence. If she were here today, the Queen would highly approve of the Renaissance Faire (Renfaire) because she recognized the importance of arts. During her reign, England was granted permission to build professional theatres for the first time. No wonder some of the most influential playwrights and literary scholars originated in England such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sydney.
“The Renfaire cast is portraying a reenactment of the Queen’s visit to Bylerica,” says Adam Fivush, Chairman of Fishers Renfaire, who has been with this organization since the planning of the very first event. He explains the setting, “The year is 1579. The season is late summer. Conditions in London are so unfavorable such as hot temperatures, rats running around, and Black Death plague that the nobles have fled to different rural areas such as Bylerica. It’s sort of like an invasion where 500-600 people arrive at the town and expect the peasants to feed them and take care of them until the end of summer when they will return to London.”
Hence, Renfaire will feature the cast of characters ranging from peasants, middle-class, nobles and authentic European faerie folk. Adam’s wife, Andrea Fivush is the cast director. Their son, Jason (12), has performed as Toby the cabin boy and will someday use his musical talent to entertain with his parents.
“I’m always surprised when I speak to Fishers residents at the Renfaire who have lived in the area for years but never been to the event,” says Jessica Springman, Fishers Renfaire Marketing and PR Chair. “This is one of the biggest events in Hamilton County next to the Fishers Freedom Festival and the largest event that brings visitors to Hamilton County from out-of-state. We’re in the process of planning our 10th Anniversary Faire which will be spectacular.” The faire will be held at Saxony on Oct. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. rain or shine.
“We consider the Renfaire a family-friendly occasion and try to keep ticket prices at a minimum, says Springman, who has volunteered for this event for nine years. “Many may not realize that this is a non-profit event that serves as a fundraiser for the Sister Cities Association of Fishers, Indiana (SCAFI) a non-profit organization that uses the proceeds to fund a student-teacher exchange with our sister city of Billericay in England for both HSE and Fishers High Schools.”
In addition to organizing and sponsoring the Renfaire, SCAFI also helps support Fishers Rotary Club and Fishers Kiwanis Club. When possible, SCAFI funds a scholarship program. Incidentally, SCAFI coordinated with Fishers Parks & Recreation to create Billericay Park off 116th and Promise Road, named after this sister city, which is located 60 miles east of London. To learn more about this partnership, visit sistercitiesoffishers.org.
Behind-the-Scenes Family Ingenuity
Creativity runs in the family as Springman’s family members help make this event successful. Her daughter Madaline (17) has been a cast member for eight years, serving as a member of the Queen’s household for one year and the Fairy Guild for seven years. Her son, Stephan (13) is a general volunteer. He not only takes photographs for the event, but also helps with the set-up and with any other area he’s needed. Her mother, Chris Springman, has made the family’s costumes and participated in the event as a stained glass merchant presenting her hand-made glass beads, wind chimes and windows. She also served as artisan chairman for a few years.
Jessica Springman’s three sisters have helped paint signs and backdrops with their mother throughout the last decade. Her youngest sister, Alex Segal, a graphic designer, has helped with the Faire all 10 years.
“Our mom has always been artistic and we picked it up from her,” she says. “She is a wonderful seamstress. She has outfitted the family with hand-sewn costumes for everyone.”
Segal met her husband, Hershel, at Renfaire. Together they perform in a pirate comedy show called Hey Nonny Nonny Players. Segal reminisces how she met her husband when he starred in this show as the Pirate Captain with the hook-hand.
“I had been helping out with the Faire on the committee side and was watching the dress rehearsal one day,” Segal says. “Afterwards, my girlfriend (Andrea Fivush) invited me to play cards and board games with the crew. This is when I met Hershel.” Not long after, Segal joined the comedy show and together they wed. They now have a new addition—2-and-a-half-year-old baby girl, named Alana. Although they haven’t performed for a couple years to spend quality time with her they plan to return to the show next year and hope to someday include her in the script. However, they do plan to attend the faire in costume as a family. Hershel’s clever invention of his prosthetic hook-hand has attracted many youngsters who come up to test his handshake and truly believe he’s Captain Hook.
Craft Beer and Cheer for Thy Entertainment
Guests 21 and older are welcome to visit the Beer Garden where craft beer and mead are served with exceptional entertainment. Some of the featured groups performing this year include:
• Red Rum
• Drunk & Sailor
• 3 Pints Gone
• Pirates and Wenches
• Robyn the Bard
• Minstrel Woode
• Rusty Mudd
Artistically Driven to Detail
With degrees in Communications and Art from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Springman has always gravitated to sharing her marketing and artistic skills. Although she works for the Nielsen Company as Manager of Client Support Services during the day, she contributes her artistic passion whenever possible. You can follow JMSpringman at jessicas1022.wix.com/jmspringman and on Facebook. Some of the artistic endeavors she has accomplished include:
• Created art work for street banners, billboards, event program brochures, posters, fliers and more for Fishers Renfaire
• Served on Sister Cities of Fishers Board for two years
• Exhibited several drawings at two juried shows at Gallery 924 at the Arts Council of Indianapolis (2013) and was also selected for a year-long exhibition of three drawings for Gallery 924’s window murals (2014)
• Served on Fisher’s Arts Council for two years
• Designed and illustrated the official t-shirt and “Mythical Indiana” trading patch set designed for 2013 National Jamboree for troop C217 of Boy Scouts of America
• Placed as one of the top three finalists for the 68th Irvington Historic Halloween Festival Design Poster Contest
• Designed and painted several signs to support Nickel Plate Arts and Downtown Noblesville’s 2012 / 2013 holiday events. Currently part of NPArts “Hipstoric” Banner Art Gallery on display throughout September 2014.
• Selected to create a shadowbox showcasing the use of ink for permanent display at Craft Corner of Conner Prairie Living History Museum
Most of the cast of the Renfaire is like extended family. Springman and Segal have admitted that Adam Fivush is like a big brother to them. He is the glue that holds everyone together. Fivush adds, “We’ve been there for each other in good times and bad times. I’ve watched children grow up and graduate from college. I’ve seen cast members get married. What we do is a labor of love. We put so much time and effort into this affair. We’re either nuts or we must really love this event because we don’t get paid.”
Obviously, this close-knit group of cast members share quality time. Still today, the Fivush family hosts card and board games every Saturday night stemming from when Alex first met Hershel. Each year, after the Renfaire, Springman invites the entire cast to a bonfire at her farmhouse that was built in Noblesville around 1860. These families and characters live and breathe the truth within their roles and relationships. Their intentions reflect not only a genuine respect to the real characters with whom they represent but also a true inspiration to all members of the audience.
Thy Reservations Await Thee
New this year is the capability of printing your tickets at home so you don’t have to wait in line. Reduced rate tickets will be available until Sept. 20 at midnight. Although they will revert to normal price after this time, you will still save time by purchasing and printing them in advance online at fishersrenfaire.yapsody.com.
As for out of town guests, the Baymont Inn & Suites is offering a package deal starting at just $79/night which includes breakfast and two tickets to the Faire. Go to fishersrenfaire.com to click on the Baymont advertisement to reserve a room, or to learn more.