Helen Yost, David Hall to promote nature at annual event this weekend
The 39th annual Moscow Renaissance Fair starts Saturday, and this year’s royalty hope to use their stations to promote environmental sustainability and celebrate spring’s return.
Queen Helen Yost credits her placement on the throne to her community involvement, which involved leading the charge for Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s campaign against Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil’s transport of refinery modules to Canada for its Kearl Oil Sands project.
“I was pretty excited,” she said. “I felt that was recognition of our community coming together to fight the latest industrial invasion.”
King David Hall, who manages the Renaissance Fair’s website, said he was surprised by the nomination.
The two are working together to craft a speech for the fair’s commencement.
“We are intending to enter with our entourage,” said Yost. “We would not like to release our statement in advance.”
She said they are working with the fair board to ensure the message is embraced by everyone involved.
A five-year resident of Moscow, Yost said she’s only missed one Ren Fair – in 2007 – and Hall said he’s been to every fair since the fifth celebration.
“I enjoy looking at all the crafts and artisans, and two days of outside music is great,” he said. “I really like that part. I think one thing that really distinguishes our fair from others is the food is not just cans of soda, and they really support the community, so I like that aspect.”
“I guess I like the parade the best, because that’s the time when everybody gets together and celebrates spring – because that’s what this fair is about,” said Yost. “I’m looking forward to the maypole dance. It is the most exemplary celebration of spring.”
Because the Ren Fair does focus on a spring revival, Yost and Hall have worked to piece together costumes reflecting that.
“It’s going to be more of a forest king, tree king type rather than a period piece,” Hall said. “The renaissance in Renaissance Fair is more for the renewal of spring rather than a renaissance period.”
Fair president Dave Willard said the king and queen are chosen based on residents who have contributed to the community.
“David has been a stalwart supporter of many good organizations and even wrote the first Palouse area bike trail guide,” Willard stated in an email. “And Helen has almost single-handedly resparked political activism in this town to a level that I haven’t seen since the Iran-Contra days.”
Vendors at the fair this weekend will be up from last year, he said. Last year there were 100 vendors, down 30 from 2010, and this year there will be 135.
“We were so down last year because the year before it was just pouring down with rain,” he said. “Also, last year there was another fair that happened … that a lot of vendors chose to go to instead of ours.”
That means the fair board won’t have to take from its reserves this year, which Willard said were hit hard when former treasurer Jessica Shepherd and her husband, Bradley, colluded to embezzle more than $7,000 from the organization. They have since been convicted and are paying restitution.
“It is coming in, but it is coming in slowly,” he said. “At that rate, it’s going to be 10 years before that gets paid off.”
The fair begins 10 a.m. Saturday in East City Park. To find out more, visit the fair’s website.
(By Brandon Macz, staff writer, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News)