Joy, good food and drinks in the “woods” of Casa De Fruta

HOLLISTER – There is still time to frolic in the cheerful old woods of Casa de Fruta.

The Northern California Renaissance Fair begins its weekend on September 18 and ends on October 24.

The land adjoining the Pacheco Pass fruit stand, restaurant and children’s play area has been transformed into the 16th century village of Willingtown, known to be home to one of the most beautiful market fairies in all of England celebrating the harvest.

If you’ve never been to a Renaissance fair, it’s safe to say it’s just medieval, from jousting tournaments to court jesters to food – well, considering we’re on the 21st. century and that we must adapt to health codes and the Pepsi generation.

The Faire is a feast not only for the stomach but for all the other senses, from sight to hearing and even to touch.

Along with the touring entertainment, nine stages of scheduled entertainment, free rock concerts, period music and royal performances, there are over 200 vendors offering everything from food and drink – including beers. for adults – to games, rides, clothing, art, garlands and accessories, jewelry, perfumes and incense, wood, leather, metal and toys.

There are also those who dabble in the occult and palm readers. Even if you reject such things or give those who practice them strengths to be able to read pulses, eye movements and the like in response to verbal statements, it can be pure entertainment to put money in. a reading, especially when it is done in the presence of family and friends.

Not only the hundreds of “characters” and the vendors in period costumes, but also many guests are having fun as well. You have the option to dress for the current century or wear your best version of Elizabethan-era fashion.

Entertainment can be racy. There are the Naughty Minstrels and a slew of humoristic acts appropriate to the time. There are fire eaters, sword swallowers, Sea Dogs specializing in maritime music and gaiety, Shakespeare auditions, a horse show, jousting tournaments, and more.

Games and activities you can participate in: archery, ax theme, big swing, land darts, giant strike, Good Shepherd games, javelins, knife throwing, Maypole carousel, pistol bows, Siege of Tortuga, Small Strike and Starz.

There are over two dozen other “fun things” ranging from a juggling school, tarot card reading, madman maze, petting zoo and more.

There are workshops in the Past-Times Workshop Garden – both in-depth and shorter versions – throughout the afternoon for adults, families and children. They cover chain mail, archery, black embroidery, making peasant dolls and much more.

The Fair also offers themed weekends: God Save the Queen, from September 18 to 19; Pirate invasion, September 25-26; Heroes and Villains, October 2 and 3; Oktoberfest, October 9-10; Carnevale and masquerade, October 16-17; and Halloween Fantasy (you can even win prizes for the best costume) on October 23-24.

There are five beer stalls offering meads, beers, ciders, and specialty drinks. The beer stands also offer draft beers, micro-breweries, wines, sodas and fountain drinks, and bottled water.

The food selection is epic, from turkey thighs, meat pies to sugary treats. There are literally hundreds of different offerings ranging from meats, sandwiches, ice cream, cupcakes, cookies with gravy, coffee and gelato pizza, and fruit ice cream to fish and chips.

There are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free foods.

The dining experience alone is worth crossing the countryside on Interstate 5 and Highway 152 to get there. Also in the spotlight, tea with the queen every day at 4 p.m. You will have dinner with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. The menu consists of scones, tea sandwiches, desserts and tea. The cost is $ 31 per adult and $ 15.50 per child. Reservations are strongly suggested.

You will find high quality handcrafted goods in the marketplace, from tin to fiber art and everything in between.

Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

One-day admission is $ 30 while children 12 and under are free. Opening weekend tickets are $ 20 for September 18-19 if purchased online.

All entertainment – except the Tea with the Queen event – is included in the price of admission. They accept Master Card, Visa, debit cards and cash. There are ATMs all over the fair.

Parking is a cash only affair which is $ 10 per day. An exact change is required.

The fair is wheelchair accessible, but keep in mind that all paths are dirt. Shoes are compulsory. Service animals are allowed, but pets are not. The ADA guidelines that the Fair applies for determining what a service animal is can be found on their website.

Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. You cannot bring food or drinks outside.

Although coming in period costume is encouraged, there is no admission discount for doing so. If your costume includes a weapon, it must be sheathed and attached. Exposed steel is not permitted. Bows should be unstretched and left at home.

The fair is open, rain or shine. No rain check or refund is offered. In the event of inclement weather or an emergency, the Fair may be closed without notice.

To find out more about the fair, visit

To reach Casa de Frusta, take Interstate 5, then head west over the Pacheco Pass on Hwy 152.

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