Renaissance festival charms Manhattan locals with costumes, cuisine

Robert Trigueros, and Josh Warren practice sparring for a show put on by Broken-Arm Academy of Swordsmanship at the Little Apple Renaissance Fair in Manhattan, Kan. on Oct. 29, 2017 (Photo by Alex Shaw | Collegian Media Group)

Hundreds of Manhattan locals flocked to City Park this weekend to experience a historical reproduction of life in 15th- and 16th-century Italy at the first Little Apple Renaissance Festival.

The festival was made possible by student planners in the Kansas State hospitality management capstone course and the Medieval and Renaissance Interest Association. The festival was held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in City Park.

A Renaissance festival is an outdoor gathering that recreates a historical setting for the amusement of the public. Common settings for Renaissance festivals are the Italian Renaissance and the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in England, and fantasy elements are often welcome.

The Little Apple Renaissance Festival was modeled after the Italian village of Norbello, featuring popular Renaissance-era food like turkey legs, goblets of hot cider and traditional herbal teas. Attendees could participate in games and activities like “Fight-a-Knight,” trebuchet and sword fighting.

Tory Bach, sophomore in food science, said this was not the first Renaissance festival she had attended.

“It is really cool to see K-State bringing events like this to Manhattan,” Bach said. “I love going to the Renaissance festival in Kansas City, so it is awesome to see it right here at home.”

The festival also featured entertainment by K-State’s On the Spot improvisational acting group and the Manhattan High School Thespian Troupe. Vendors at the festival sold Renaissance-themed items like swords, corsets and hand-crafted leather bags.

“Seeing all the different interpretations of the time period and getting to actually get a glimpse into history is brilliant,” Marcus Kokmeyer, Riley County resident, said.

The event was the first of its kind in Manhattan. Over 1,500 people attended the event, and there are plans to hold another festival next fall due to its overwhelming success.

“I love seeing our town grow and welcome new events,” Martha Berker, Manhattan resident, said. “It makes our little world a tiny bit bigger.”