It's been 24 years since the first Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire transported Howard Amon Park in Richland to medieval times.
And every year since, the number of people who cram the park to take part in this Elizabethan event grows, said event organizer Marjorie Kunigisky.
"It's not just vendors, it's not just music, it's not just dancing," Kunigisky said. "It's all of that and more. There are three different puppet stages and the performances are set so that you can watch all three during the day."
The faire takes place June 26-27. Admission is $9 for one day and $12 for two days for teens through adults. Seniors and ages 5-12 are $7 for one day and $9 for two days with kids 5 and younger free. A family pass, two adults and two kids, is $38 for both days.
Gates open at 9:45 a.m. each day with a parade starting from the main gate. Festivities continue until 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the gate. Howard Amon Park is a block east of the corner of George Washington Way and Lee Boulevard.
While you wander through the park there'll be some celebrities hanging out at the faire, like William Shakespeare and the Virgin Queen herself, Elizabeth I.
Then there are all of the jugglers, fire eaters, storytellers, dancers, minstrels, swashbucklers, jousting knights and privateers who'll liven up the surroundings throughout the day.
"(People) love action, that's why we have jousting," Kunigisky said. "There will be three different groups of fighters and even folks with whips. And, our storyteller uses swashbucklers to help tell her stories."
The privateers will explain the weapons of the times and will fire off a cannon twice a day. There also will be an archery booth with the Seattle Knights shooting some arrows at each other, and a group of blacksmiths will let visitors try their hand at old-time blacksmithing.
For the more literate, four Shakespearean plays will be performed -- Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and altered versions of Romeo and Juliet, and MacBeth, the Comedy.
"Some folks tell me that there is something very peaceful and relaxing about Greenwood Faire and they come to re-charge themselves," Kunigisky said. "That might be because among the many different types of musicians at Greenwood Faire, there are three really fantastic harp players."
There are a million reasons to visit the Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire, Kunigisky said.
"People should come for the same reason they go to a county fair, an amusement park or a museum," she said. "The Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire is all of those rolled into one. There are fun things to do, see and learn."
A full schedule of events is available at www.yemerriegreenwoodfaire.org.
But perhaps the most important draw about this medieval faire is that, "It's the biggest, best party in the entire Columbia Basin," Kunigisky said. "Why would anyone want to miss that?"
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org