Connecticut Renaissance Faire opens at new Norwich site

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Mon., Sep. 23, 2013
Eliza, 5, and C.J., 6, both of Taftville, try out their archery bows while waiting for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire gate to open. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Eliza, 5, and C.J., 6, both of Taftville, try out their archery bows while waiting for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire gate to open. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

The Connecticut Renaissance Faire opened its 2013 season in its new Dodd Stadium digs on Sept. 21, as Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom used a sword and state Sen. Cathy Osten (D-19) a pair of scissors to slice through the ribbon and open the Tudor gates.

Eliza, 5, and her brother C.J., 6, waited anxiously for the opening with their parents, Alicia and Richard Hanson of Taftville. All four were dressed in medieval garb, Eliza wearing a headpiece that her mom had made for herself 20 years before. “I’ve never been to the Renaissance Faire,” she explained.

“This I got from WalMart,” said CJ of his Robin Hood get-up. Eliza said she was portraying Merida, from the movie “Brave,” and both children carried toy bows for archery.

After the ribbon was cut, the “pope” gave his blessing to the event from atop the giant gatehouse.  He was accompanied by "King Henry VIII," and the two mugged for cameras in a brief moment of camaraderie belying their historical dispute.

The Faire, which runs Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 20, moved to Norwich this year following several years at the Hebron Lions Club fairgrounds.

Longtime vendor Jonathan Scungio, of Cranston, R.I., who owns Oignucs, a shop selling incense and fragrance oils, said he welcomed the move. “It looks a little more like a field in the 15th century,” he said of the new site. He said he has been with the Faire through all of its moves, from Putnam to Danielson to Woodstock to Hebron and now to Norwich. "Every time we move, not only do we carry over people from the old site, but we get new people. There’s a much larger population here. We make it what it is.”

Nystrom welcomed the Faire to the city, noting that there would be new things to experience throughout its five-weekend run. “There’s no excuse for everybody to not keep coming back,” he said.


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