Ever since 1982, the realm of Carvershire has opened its gates to modern-day visitors for eight weekends of Renaissance-era fun. Nestled in the woods of Carver, Mass., “Carvershire” is the site of King Richard’s Faire, the biggest and longest-running Renaissance faire in New England.
I wanted to gain more insight into this fanciful faire, so I contacted Elizabeth Crouse, who plays Queen Anne III. The interview is edited for length and clarity.
Your AAA: What will a typical faire day be like for you?
EC: A typical faire day for me is that I will get there earlier, and everyone will be there all in costume before the gates open. We might go over some musical numbers – we have a new musical comedy this year that features the entire court!
The gates open at 10:30 and there’s a whole ceremony. The king and the court and I will be looking down on everyone (maybe harassing people) and welcoming them into the community.
There’s the one musical number twice a day, there’s jousting going on through the day that culminates in a grand joust. There’s always live entertainment and shopping – my personal favorite.
Your AAA: Do you have a favorite show at the faire?
EC: I would have to say the Sturdy Beggars Mud Show! Last year when we came to the faire, my kids and my husband and I had such a hoot. There’s innuendos that go over the kids’ heads but will really get the adults laughing. The Washing Well Wenches are another of my favorites. Those ladies are hysterical.
Your AAA: What’s the costume like? Is it very hot?
EC: It usually is! I’m a designer, and I create different historical gowns and wedding dresses for my day job. I’ve done a lot of costume work for other faires around the nation. I have been working on this year’s costume, and I’m thrilled. Some of the fabric is the most expensive that I’ve worked with. Some of it has actual gold in the material. Still, it’s quite comfortable. The site at King Richard’s Faire is this beautiful forest, so it has a lot of shade.
Your AAA: What does Queen Anne think of the faire? Will she have a good time?
EC: Oh, of course! Queen Anne will have an excellent time! I’m thrilled to be joining this cast and to be able to entertain people – but also to be served and adored by people. As a full-time mom, going from making peanut-butter sandwiches to having someone bring me food is great.
Your AAA: Why do you think people keep coming back to the faire?
EC: There’s always something going on and something new to see. Last year I would come in costume, and every time I came I would see something different. The performers love escaping reality, and we want our guests to have a good time escaping reality too.
Have you ever been to King Richard’s Faire? What’s your favorite part of the celebration? Let us know in the comments below!