Renaissance Faire gives students fun approach to fundraising

There’s this little Renaissance faire that happens in Boulder City every year. It’s called, well, the Boulder City Renaissance Faire. You’ll find people dressed like lords and ladies, devouring turkey legs and speaking like they have no idea of this contraption you call the Internet.

But you’ll also find students at the front entrance, taking money and giving tickets. The real difference between this faire, which runs Friday through Sunday at Veterans’ Memorial Park in Boulder City, and others like it are the people behind it. Boulder City High School’s Future Business Leaders of America club has put this event on for eight years.

“They got tired of doing bake sales and car washes to raise money,” says Cathy Strachan, Boulder City High School teacher and co-founder of the Boulder City Renaissance Faire.

Also the students’ FBLA adviser, Strachan suggested a Renaissance faire because she’s one of those people who dresses up and eats turkey legs at these things. She belongs to a guild and participates in re-enactments from the Elizabethan period.

The kids were all for doing something new, and Strachan knew enough about event planning to realize the learning opportunities it would provide, especially when the school district decided in 2007 to move the event off a school campus.

With beer being served and weapons used for re-enactments, the district thought it better to hold the event at a park. That’s when FBLA took on the task of applying for and receiving, status as a nonprofit organization. Profits from the event go toward FBLA, but plenty gets allocated to local schools and charities, too.

The nonprofit application process and the planning that’s come thereafter has given students the kind of hands-on approach they wouldn’t get sitting in a classroom reading books.

“It teaches you, you have to be organized and do things on time,” says Whitney Strand, a senior at Boulder City High School and FBLA president.

It also teaches them about a group of people to whom most students had no prior exposure.

“That was a culture shock,” she says. “But it’s kind of like taking a step out of my own element.”

After planning the Boulder City Renaissance Faire and attending it for several years now, Strand sees it as an “escape from reality.”

The escape will continue this year as live armored steel combat takes place; re-enactments of life in the peasants, pirates and mercenaries camps; medieval games and demonstrations.

Entertainment will include the rock band Killian’s Angels, which has been performing at the faire since its inception. There will also be a storyteller from California who dresses in character and pulls kids onstage with her, as well as a slew of belly dancing troupes, archery, children’s games and more.

Vendors will be on site from Arizona and California, selling jewelry, perfumes, oils, leather goods, armor and musical instruments from the Renaissance period.

Visitors can take it all in and escape from reality as they indulge in funnel cakes, fruit kebabs, sausage and, of course, turkey legs.

Contact Xazmin Garza at xgarza@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.