TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ye Olde Renaissance Faire: A Fun Time Had at Grace Episcopal Church

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Priest Libby Wade of Grace Episcopal Church in Paducah, Kentucky has been sent to the stocks! Here she sits in the hot October sun with her Book of Common Prayer subjecting herself to..... uh, OK, just some fun at Ye Olde Renaissance Faire, put on by her very own Episcopalian members.

Some of them, including the Fair Priest's jailer, took their roles seriously, very seriously... but, whether serious or in jest, the Faire was a joyous occasion on the beautiful grounds of one of Paducah's oldest churches.

Grace Episcopal Church is one of Paducah's oldest and most beautiful churches.

This is the second Renaissance Faire I have attended at Grace. I had a booth with some of my wares and did my henna thing. The Faire has been a small, intimate event in the past, with poor outside attendance which is a shame as it has much to offer. The costumes, of course, announce the theme in full splendor. It's so much fun to see what people come up with! Some rented their attire, while others made their own.

The couple above are veteran Renaissance merchants who have participated in much larger venues in bigger cities. They had the booth next to mine, showcasing their gorgeous garden cement and hand-blown glass ornaments.

Paducah's Lowertown Artists had a tent, represented by some of their colorful characters.

Multi-talented Freda Fairchild, fiber artist, print-maker and jeweler displayed some of her beautiful necklaces.

"Friar" Jay Downs Siska, co-author of Lower Town, Paducah, charmed visitors with stories about the Old Times in Paducah.

Renaissance tunes floated in the air, mixing in with laughter and conversation.

A highlight for me was meeting James Whitworth, known as "Bear" a true Renaissance man in the scope of his abilities. He participates regularly in re-enactments, collects period pieces from several different traditions, has taught himself how to make his own costumes, plays several instruments, including the bagpipe, and has a hilarious sense of humor.

James "Bear" Whitworth in Scottish dress,
entertained with stories, music and humor.

Gloria of the Cookies has a faithful following and sells out of her fantastic offerings. Each one is a perfect piece in shape, taste and texture.

Gloria's cookies are glorious!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! All Praise be Given to the Needle Traditions!
But, what I really treasure from the event are all the needleworkers giving live demonstrations of their skill. I am always so impressed by how much the Paducah area keeps hidden until these events bring out the talent. It seems to me that the City should really capitalize on this more and have a permanent place exhibiting and educating about all the crafts abundant in the area. Ironically, Quilt City USA, as Paducah is known, had no representatives of its quilting tradition at the faire.

Sandra Benne Doing a Tatting Demonstration

There were, however, several live demonstrations of tatting, lace-making, spinning and weaving.

Pam Crouch, Bobbin Lace Demonstration,
President of the Heartland Lace Guild,
(They meet at Grace Epicopal on the 2nd Friday of every month)

Bobbin Lace, a complex needle art, demands
focus, dexterity and patience!

Spinning, the backbone to fiber art
around the world throughout the ages!

Weaving, that which has clothed us and
kept our homes warm for centuries!

A King and Queen are Chosen
The Faire included a Royal Parade where all the costumed ladies and gents displayed their regal attire. A man and a woman, chosen for most authentic attire, were chosen as King and Queen.

The King of the Renaissance Faire

Yes, Paducah is a small city that may lack many of the amenities offered by more popular tourist destinations or the giant metro areas that have so much fame. But, there is always something fun happening here. Small celebrations of life, creativity, and community make this place special to all of us who choose to live here. Thank you, Grace Episcopal, for hosting this event and extending it to all of us who take so much pleasure from a bit of historical fantasy!

Note: If you know the names of the people photographed, leave a comment here and I will add them into the post.



  1. How fun to see the textile arts being demonstrated there.

  2. Thanks for featuring Grace Church's Renaissance Faire on your website and for sharing your work as an artisan with faire-goers! We enjoy offering this event to the community periodically, and we also welcome guests and visitors all year round to our worship space and to our peaceful grounds.
    All have an open invitation to enter, rest, and pray. (We're located at the corner of 9th and Broadway in Paducah.)
    The Rev. Libby Wade, Rector

  3. Rayela....thanks so much for your coverage of The Renaissance Faire ar Grace Episcopal....Judy Bray Chairman,Renaissance Faire.

  4. Thanks for your coverage of The Renaissance Faire...your pictures are greaT! jUDY bRAY,Chairman,Renaissance Faire


“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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