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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Surely You Joust: Canceled Renaissance Faire Organizer Explains Why City Compelled Her To Throw In Ye Olde Towel

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Huzzah! Raise yer hands if ye think San Francisco's permitting process has gone a wee bit awry... - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • Huzzah! Raise yer hands if ye think San Francisco's permitting process has gone a wee bit awry...
The notion of jumping through the increasingly exacting hoops demanded by city government when creating a Renaissance Faire fantasy world celebrating a distinctly less ordered time is somewhat amusing -- but not for Marti Miernik. As we reported yesterday, Renaissance Productions abruptly canceled the scheduled Aug. 1 Golden Gate "faire," citing a litany of unworkable scenarios insisted upon by the city's Parks and Recreation Department -- which the faire organizers accuse of repeatedly altering their arrangement.

"It's been tough. We asked for the same thing every year and we've never had any problems with the event. Our security deposit has always been returned to us comprehensively," said Miernik, the co-founder of Renaissance Productions. She estimates that at least $25,000 in fees -- park rangers, alcohol permits, etc. -- will now not be heading into the city's coffers. What's more, 1,000 to 1,200 actors won't be seeking accommodations in San Francisco, nor will 7,000 to 10,000 faire-goers. 

Miernik said that this year, after six seasons of putting on Elizabethan revelries in Golden Gate Park, Park and Rec Department officials suddenly insisted that she was forbidden from driving onsite during setup. Since the faire features between 80 and 120 vendors and 40 "period tents" that need to be staked into the ground, not being able to load and unload from a truck is more than a minor inconvenience.

But the real kicker seems to be date change. Miernik said that Park and Rec officials waited until late June to inform her that they wanted the event to be on Aug. 1 and 2, not Aug. 29 and 30.

"I would have had a week to put all of my advance [notice] together," she says. "That's no way in hell enough time. I already had people coming up from Los Angeles."

Our calls to Park and Rec haven't yet been returned.

In any event, those with a thirst for Shakespearian doings and loud -- and frequent -- utterances of "huzzah!' will have to wait until mid-September for the Ardenwood Faire. As for holding a Renaissance faire in San Francisco, Miernik's refrain is the same as that adopted by San Francisco Giants fans: Maybe next year.

"We are very much looking forward to working with them in the future," she says of the city's Park and Rec department. "But important factors need to be [addressed]."

Photo   |   Jim Herd

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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